Last week I was driving to work and in an area where the neighborhood is a bit rougher. I was stopped at the light when I happened to see a city bus stopped on my right. On my left, I could see an older woman and what could have been her adult son. He was disabled and she was pulling his hand to catch the bus. I think she sensed that the bus was not going to wait so she started to scream and threw her water bottle (it didn’t go very far). I could see the bus driver look toward her and as the light changed, he drove away. I too had to go because there were cars in back of me.
I could see her frustrated look as I glanced in my rear view mirror. She was raising her hands as if yelling at the driver. Then I could see her walk away as her son just stood there waiving good-bye to the bus.
I was talking to a friend on the phone at that moment and told him that I needed to pull over or turn around. I felt worried. What if he was going to be late for work and one more late shift would get him fired? What if he had no way to get to some doctor’s appointment? What if? What if?
My friend said: “Jessica, how you know you’ll be safe?” “You’re going to take a strange guy in your car and bring him somewhere? Please. Be realistic.” He was right of course – well, intellectually I knew he was right. But I felt awful and have thought about it ever since.
Of course we can’t help everyone (although I would if I could!). But even more so than that, for most of us, a missing of a bus or a flat tire is just an annoyance – something that can easily be fixed. But for others, things like that can cause them to lose a job, an opportunity, an overdraft at the bank, a missed meal.
That little vignette reminded me to be thankful that I can help, in most situations and just how fragile life is for some many people. But it also made me wonder why I ended up here and why he ended up there. And, whether I’m really doing enough. And, what is enough?
All this is to say, maybe we should keep our eyes open this week. And, while this week is no more special than any other week, we might just be given the gift of seeing someone who needs a little something.
Let’s be honest: we really are fortunate enough to be able to help someone every day. And, we all have something to give … even if it’s just ourselves.
Have an amazing start to your week!