Emma jean buckled herself in like she seen her dad do for her earlier. Leaning over to watch him, she made sure he was buckled in. “You have to make sure to look at both sides. You’ll miss all the fun stuff if you don’t.”

The ride began to move just as it did before. It started off slow and this time there was a soundtrack being played over well-hidden speakers. This was the first time she heard the music so the ride was even more loved by her. She grabbed hold of his arm and squealed. The boy tensed at her sudden excited touch but relaxed soon after. “I take it this is the first time you heard the music?”

“Yes! I love it even more. Do you like it?”

He didn’t have a chance to answer her when the ride reached the peak. They both screamed and squealed in delight as they went around the mountain. It felt as if the ride was over too soon. They exited the ride. Emma jean grabbed hold of his hand. There was another place she wanted to go. The two of them went on the Ferris wheel. Looking out one end she marveled at the view. She was more than happy to have experienced the full effect of the ride.

“I never get tired of seeing the whole park from up high. It’s the best ever.”

When their cart stopped at the bottom, she looked at him nervously “Can you walk with me to the office? I’m ready to go back.”

The boy took her hand and nodded. “It was fun by the way.”

She looked up at him with big green eyes unsure of what he meant.

“The ride. It was fun. One day I hope to make a ride just as fun as that.”

“You should tell daddy. No, when I run the park, I want you to work in it too. That way I can see you all the time.”

He covered his mouth with his free hand to stifle the laugh that threatened to spill forth.

Emma jean and the boy reached the head office. Dallas came out to greet her. She wasn’t aware that after she left the carousel that the attendant contacted her dad to let him know what was going on. Instead of looking for her they all kept a watchful eye on her as she made her way through the park.

Dallas swept her into his arm, squeezing her tightly. “Never run off again. That was a scary thing to do.”

She only smiled at him and pointed to the boy. “Daddy, I want him to work with us. He was so nice and kind. He’s the best.”

Dallas looked from her to him and nuzzled his head against her cheek. He whispered something in her ear before putting her down. Patting her butt, she went inside. The boy stood there awkwardly rocking on the balls of his heel. He was nervous. Dallas was a big man. He seemed even bigger when he walked over to the boy. He stuck his hand out waiting for the boy to take it. When he did, he shook his hand firmly, clasping his other over it. Keeping his hand locked in place. “Thank you for sticking with her today. It must have been hard to be separated from your family to watch a stranger.”

“It was no problem. My family wanted to look at the educational side. I wanted to have fun. I’m a young man, not a kid.”

“Well, young man education is important but you were a huge help to me. I, no we all, thank you for staying with her. Good thing you didn’t have any bad intentions. You and your family would have been banned for life along with going to jail.” Dallas let go of his hand and smiled. “Have fun at the rest of the park. Oh and a gift for you and your family.” He reached into his pocket and took out a voucher. It was free for a weeks stay at the hotel and free admittance to the park for the duration of the stay.

The boy started to wave his hand to decline but it was thrusted at him. He was forced to take it. Shoving it in his pocket he turned around to leave. He didn’t want to be rewarded for doing something that should have been a given. Being kind should be normalized in his eyes. That’s the way his parents had taught him. You see someone in need you help them. If they are doing it for the wrong reasons then the fault lies with them.

The boy managed to rejoin his family towards the end of the day. He handed them the voucher and explained how he got it. His parents were both in awe and proud of what he did.

Emma jean and her dad were in the office. Emma was sitting in his chair spinning around. Dallas was on the phone with Rowan, her mom. He explained the events of what happened. They agreed that Emma would have to be punished for her action of running away. Dallas went over to her and stopped the chair from spinning. He squatted down to her eye level. “Emma jean, mama and I have decided you are grounded from the park for one week. No rides, coming with me to work, or visiting on the weekends. You have to stay with mama. Do you understand me?”

She looked down not wanting to meet his eyes. She had her bottom lip poking out. Emma jean understood but didn’t want to admit that it was what she deserved for being naughty. “Yes, daddy. I understand. No park for a week. Does that mean no park from Thursday to Wednessday?”

Dallas nodded his head, taking her little hands in his calloused ones. She squeezed his hands as tight as she could. “Sorry dumpling.”

“I’m sorry daddy. I won’t do it again.”

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