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A Stranger in the Neighborhood

It was a quiet afternoon in the sleepy neighborhood of Sunnybrook. The children were playing in the park, the birds were singing in the trees, and the adults were enjoying a cup of coffee on their porches.


Suddenly, a stranger walked down the street. He was tall and thin, with long, dark hair and a beard. He was wearing a strange coat and hat, and he carried a large bag over his shoulder.


The children stopped playing and stared at the stranger. The adults looked up from their coffee and whispered to each other. No one had ever seen this stranger before.


The stranger walked slowly down the street, his eyes darting back and forth. He didn't seem to notice the people staring at him.


When he reached the park, he stopped and sat down on a bench. He opened his bag and took out a book. He started to read, completely ignoring the people watching him.


The children were curious about the stranger. They slowly approached him, their eyes wide with wonder.


"Hello," said one of the children. "My name is Billy. What's your name?"


The stranger looked up from his book and smiled. "My name is Mr. Smith," he said.


"What are you doing here?" asked Billy.


"I'm just passing through," said Mr. Smith. "I'm on my way to visit a friend."


"What kind of friend?" asked another child.


"A very special friend," said Mr. Smith. "Someone I haven't seen in a long time."


The children were fascinated by Mr. Smith. They had never met anyone like him before. They asked him all sorts of questions, and he answered them all patiently.


After a while, the children's parents came to get them. It was getting time for dinner.


"Goodbye, Mr. Smith," said Billy. "It was nice meeting you."


"Goodbye, Billy," said Mr. Smith. "It was nice meeting you too."


The children waved goodbye to Mr. Smith and followed their parents home.


Mr. Smith watched them go. Then he stood up and picked up his bag. He started to walk down the street again, his eyes darting back and forth.


The adults watched him go, their eyes filled with suspicion. Who was this stranger? And what was he doing in their neighborhood?






Questions:


Why do you think the people in the story were suspicious of Mr. Smith?

What do you think Mr. Smith was doing in the neighborhood?

What would you have done if you had seen Mr. Smith in your neighborhood?

Do you think it's important to be welcoming to strangers?

What are some ways to be safe when talking to strangers?






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