Sunday night around 7:40 PM, I was forty minutes late to my dinner plan. As I sat down to the table full of people, my arms were still shaking a little as I lift up the hot cup of tea, perhaps from the cold, and perhaps from the feeling of only my arms went to the gym and did all the lifting before I could even catch up….. My friends asked, “what took you so long?!” Yeah, I have a tale.
Fifty minutes earlier.
Car parked just half a block to the restaurant. I was on time. But as I walked up the hill, I saw an older lady stopped. Her hand bag in her right hand, and cane in left, but she was looking to the ground trying to pick up something with her cane but looked helpless. She had on a colorful outfit and a long dress, with a simple boutique hat. “Do you need help with something ma’am?” She replied, “Help me pick it up.” It was an unused 5” by 8” small towelette pack. I did, then she handed me her semi-heavy bag, “hold it for me” and took my right arm while holding the cane on the other hand, “can you walk me down a block?”
Then the journey began.
I was 10 minutes early, I thought, why not walk just 1 block and be a helpful person for a stranger?! On the way there, we talked about food, cause it was dinner time. When I asked her if her family was going to help her get home or get food, she said, “I don’t have any friends or family left.” She lives 3 cities away but was here to attend an annual street festival. We have walked more than 3 blocks now. I asked her where is her car. She told me, “I have no car. I took the bus.”
I started to think I might have been tricked into this…
She didn’t know where the bus stop was, she stopped in the middle of crossing a pedestrian walkway and yelled across the street to get attention from a group of peace officers working on closing the street festival to ask a question about where is the bus stop.
I began to realize that this lady may not have had a very good insight of things.
Now we are 4 blocks away. We were told to walk 4 more blocks down to catch the bus, or 1 long block to the other direction to catch the shuttle which takes her to the bus stop. She described her ride home consist of transferring from one bus to another. While we were walking to the shuttle station, she was complaining about her legs hurting, how the shuttle is not there (but we were still on our way), and those peace officers were “not helpful;” I was still holding on to her semi-heavy hand bag on one arm and holding on to her on the other while she worked the cane.
She was able to recite her home address, so I finally said, “why don’t we call you taxi to go home?” But she didn’t have enough money. Later I found out that she actually took taxi here, but didn’t have enough to pay for the ride. I began to question the reliability of her stories, they all seem to mix in together.
But it was not right to just leave her there; she looked quite helpless given her leg pain is very possibly real. So I said, “it’s getting late, so I think we should call you a taxi home, and I’ll pay for it.” She didn’t find it hard to accept my offer. When we were waiting for the taxi, she said, “I’m cold. Can I have your sweater?”
Should I give my sweater to you, ma’am? Why did I bring this sweater out today? It’s the most expensive sweater I’ve ever own!! I should have brought my other jacket; it would have been easier to give it away. Wait a minute, what if this is Jesus in disguise?
And there comes the cab I called. She will have heater home, that I know for sure. The taxi driver assured me that my bill should be able to cover the ride. The lady thanked me, and her final request, “Can I have the change from your bill?!”