Last year, in July, I was at a big-box store with my daughter. We were traveling and it turns out Home Depot’s a good place to stop in the middle of a trip. You have to walk to the back of the store to get to the restroom, so you stretch your legs; and the garden center’s open-air, making for a nice walk back.

We were heading back out through the lumber section and my daughter, then five, saw a man poking through two-by-fours.

“Hey,” she said, “Why aren’t you wearing a mask? Don’t you know there’s a virus out there?”

I tensed.

This was right after a bus driver in France had been stabbed to death for asking two passengers to wear masks. It was after an Uber driver had been viciously abused. After a few beatings had made the news.

The man turned, looked at my daughter, and hung his head.

“You’re right,” he said. “I’m a bad guy.” He pointed. “Your mask is very pretty, though.”

I told my daughter to say thank you—and she did—and then we hustled back to the car to keep driving.

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