Animated movies give me gas. Really. I can’t take them. So when “Dophin Tale” debuted this week, I wholeheartedly agreed to take Zoe. I was hedging my bets on being entertained by Harry Connick Jr. (as my mother said, a shirtless HC jr. is the ONLY good thing that happened with Hurricane Katrina), but I got so much more.
The story opens with Sawyer, a sweet but hapless tween, looking for something to hold onto in life. His dad split. His cousin is going into the army. Mom works 100 hours a day to make ends meet and all he has to look forward to is summer school. And he lives in the metropolitan hot-spot of Clearwater, Florida. Seriously, I’m bored for him. Then one day he rides his bike to school and comes across a dolphin, caught up in a crab trap and ropes, beached and listless. From there, it’s an adventure and a friendship of a lifetime.
About three quarters of the way through the movie, military vets with all kinds of transformer-like prosthesis are featured. It’s really amazing, what modern technology and mechanics can provide. From there the dolphin tail proto-type is created and then, and here’s what got me, the children with limb challenges came into play. Zoe BURST into tears. “I feel so sorry for them mama. I don’t want them to be like that.”
After the movie, we took a minute to walk around Miami Beach and talk. We have a friend, Nicole, who was born with one of her arms not fully developed. Nicole is amazing regardless of her arm issues. She can do anything that you or I can do, but better because she is working with a challenge. She’s smart, beautiful and kind. She is the kind of child/friend you want to have. Period. And if she thought you were feeling sorry for her, she might kick your butt. Embarrassingly so.
Zoe and I discussed Nicole. ”Now, do you feel sorry for Nicole because she has an arm that’s not fully developed?” Zoe said “No, she’s awesome.” Verbatim. We talked about taking that “sorry” feeling and turning it into compassion. Everyone in life has a different path. Some are more challenging than others. When we deal with people, we should take a minute and appreciate that their path might be harder than ours, and we should lead with kindness. Especially when differences are most obvious.
That’s a tale worth chasing.