In the interest of my having more of a social life, I planned dinner and a movie with a friend last night — we decided to see Mao’s Last Dancer at an old-fashioned “movie palace” in Newport.

Because Tuesday is one of my “long” days in Providence, I was pressed for time by the end of the afternoon. I hurried home, changed clothes, and scooted into town to meet V. at the theater. I noticed that there were some folks in the lobby who seemed awfully dressed up, but didn’t think much more about it as we went off to eat. And because we were busy talking during, and after, our meal, we ended up rushing back just in time for the 7:30 show. We bought our tickets, settled in to our seats, heard the doors close behind us, and watched as a trio of well-dressed and poised young people stood up and began to address the audience.

And that’s when we realized we’d goofed. We weren’t at a show of Mao’s Last Dancer at all. We’d bought tickets for the charity screening of a 30-minute documentary on the plight of a group of homeless kids in New Delhi. “Oh, crap,” I leaned over and whispered, “I think I owe you a beer.” We thought about maybe slinking out. But since it was only a half an hour, we decided to stay and see what the story was.

The film detailed a horrific situation — children as young as 7 who sleep rough, “huff” Wite-Out, and often fall into the hands of child trafficking pimps who out-Fagin Fagin by a factor of a thousand. During a short Q&A afterward, we learned more about the organization, called Flying Kites, which sponsored the event. They’re dedicated to serving as facilitators between non-profits on the ground in India and donors in the U.S. They’re building a school for orphans in Kenya. They are going to make a huge difference in the world — they already have, in fact.

Maybe we didn’t goof after all.

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