I had something interesting happen to me yesterday that I feel merits recounting. My Wednesday Morning was reasonably typical; I went about the morning getting my son’s lunch ready and working through the struggle that is getting him out of bed and dressed. I got everything lined up and ready, and we were out the door. I dropped Nathan off at his school bus and made my way to a local retailer to purchase some groceries that my wife and I agreed were needed for the days to come.
After completing my shopping and getting back into the car without anyone in public pissing me off (a rarity, these days) I drove home with the intention of unloading my groceries and getting back into pyjamas as I’m still feeling the effects of whatever ungodly illness has taken up residence in my immune system. Even the drive home went off without a hitch, which is also rare since city traffic usually does at least ONE thing to test the limits of my inner serenity. But I digress…
As I came around the curve of the crescent leading to my house, I spotted a lone person at the bus stop down the street. They appeared to be sitting in the snow. Thinking nothing of it, I parked my car, checked the trash bins at the street (it was garbage day yesterday) and turned to see a young woman walking towards me. I recognized her as the person who had been sitting in the snow at the bus stop, based on her clothing. She walked with a bit of a strange gait and walked right up and stopped in front of me. “Can I ask you a question?” Her voice was barely audible and I had to strain to hear what she was saying.
I replied “Sure”, thinking she’ll ask about the bus line or when it passes by. She explains that she’s been sitting in the snow for over fifteen minutes and hasn’t seen a bus yet and needs to get downtown to catch a connecting bus to get her home before work. She asked if there was any way I was willing to give her a ride downtown. I dislike the way this sounds, but her manner of speech and her mannerisms had me thinking she may have something not quite right about her.
Although I’m not in the habit of providing rides to random strangers, it IS winter time, she appeared a little worse for the wear and I had nothing going on that would be interrupted by taking ten minutes to give her a ride. I agreed to provide a ride as soon as I unloaded my groceries. She offered to help, but I draw the limit at letting a stranger carry my groceries and/or walk into my house. I explained to my wife what was happening and what I would be doing and we were on our way.
She introduced herself as Casey and explained that she had stayed at a friend’s house last night and was not from this area. Because of this, she was unfamiliar with the bus schedule and didn’t want to risk being late for work because of it. She was cold and shivering and was grateful for the ride. I brought her down to the main strip where all the primary bus lines travelled, which was where she indicated her destination needed to be. She thanked me and stepped out into the cold to catch her next bus.
Unfortunately, the world we live in has evolved in such a way that most people likely would have declined to help Casey or give her a ride. They likely would have been suspicious of her motives and/or wouldn’t want to burden themselves with someone else’s needs or concerns. They may even have outright ignored her as she approached. But at the end of the day, what did this cost me? Ten minutes of my time? Likely less than a dollar of fuel for my vehicle? What did it do for Casey? It got her to a location she was familiar with, so she could get home? Likely prevented her being late for work? Perhaps even showed her that there are some people who can be trusted?
It’s still okay to help others. Although one needs to protect oneself and their family, there are still instances where it’s not only acceptable to help out someone who asks, it’s the right thing to do. And as a society, doing what’s right should be a primary focus for everybody. I’m quite certain I’ll never see Casey again. But as she goes on with her day, the ride she got likely prevented her from being late and getting into trouble at work, perhaps even getting fired. And she’ll remember for the next while that some people are still willing to help, and it may restore or maintain her faith in humanity. ☯