I park far away. It forces me to walk extra distances. I don’t see many cars parked near mine. Today there was one. It was unusual. There was a young woman leaning on the hood. She was texting. There was a much older woman sitting in the driver seat. My curious mind searched for an explanation. I’ve seen many scenarios like this where goods are exchanged. Usually something related to Kijiji.
As I walked by I heard the door of the car open. I then heard an “Excuse me Sir”. I turned to listen.
“Can you help me? I have jumper cables, but I can’t get my car started”.
The car looked like it shouldn't be on the road. Bald tires. Blistered and faded paint. The passenger side mirror was missing. Just a stub of gnarled plastic where it used to be.
Her request was simple. She had jumper cables and asked if I could give her a boost. I said yes. First though I asked about how she came to be in this predicament. She explained she had been driving and the car just stopped. I opined it might be her alternator. Some back and forth. She said the care is trying to turn over, Listen. She turned the key and it started. She was ecstatic. I joked, that the good news was, if it was her alternator she wouldn't get far and would still be in the city. She was heading for the valley. She said with a smile, she would go the old way. She had a friend she could call who lived along the old road.
She said she was good to go. Then she thanked me. Then she started to tell me the story of the previous people she asked to help her. Four people refused to help her. Three had flaky excuses. One man just said no and kept walking. I was saddened. Here was a harmless vulnerable woman and daughter who simply wanted someone’s help for about five minutes. She said she was happy there was still good people in the world. Tears started streaming down both cheeks. She thanked me over and over.
The episode left me feeling sad. Is the bar for being helpful this low? A vulnerable woman who is not a threat is reduced to tears for a simple act of human kindness.