“Do you need help?”
His voice rings out, jarring me out of my concentration. The path is steep, and my walker’s basket loaded. I cling to the railing with one hand and my walker with the other, picking my way toward the pathway below.
“Hang on, I’m coming.”
The young man is not waiting for a reply from me. He parks his bike and is sprinting up the path. Sizing up the situation, he decides what to do.
“Ma’am, I’ll take the walker down first, then come back for you.”
“I can do . . . I mean, help is always welcome, especially at my age.”
Down he goes. I watch him deposit my walker at the edge of the walkway, out of the way of bikes and pedestrians. He’s heading up again. I guess I’m the next to go.
“If you’re ready, take my arm and I’ll have you down in a jiffy.”
“This is so good of you. Do you specialize in rescue jobs?”
“No big thing, lady. I should be able to spare the time to give someone a hand!”
He puts on his helmet, picks up his bike, and gets ready to leave. A strange feeling floods over me. Something unusual, something very right has happened. Without thinking I call, “Would you mind coming over? There’s something I must tell you.”
“Of course, Ma’am – shoot.”
“Today a complete stranger helped me, with nothing for him to gain but the satisfaction of helping someone. The world has need of people like you. Don’t change.”
He looks a bit embarrassed but says, “It sounds funny, but today seems special to me. I’ll remember it.”
“As will I.”
We laugh, and wave goodbye. He goes his way. I turn and go mine.
26 Responses to Help!!
Another beautiful story. There are many wonderful people in the world but you are also a person who attracts kindness.
Hi Joyce, glad you enjoyed the story. It was one of those unexpected encounters that enriched one’s life. The young man was attracted by my need. I’m sure he did not consider if I merited help or not, but thanks for the compliment!
This is a good story to read at a time when we’re hearing about so many acts of violence by young people. Thank you for sharing it!
Elfrieda – Statistics tell us that crime is steadily declining. Too bad that news apparently needs to be bad to be noticed. I consistently get offers of help from young people I do not know.
Thank you Marjorie for this insightful post.
I have had reason to use a walker over the past 2 months. People everywhere have been so helpful from the fellow in my local coffee shop, who offered to carry my coffee to the table outside, to the many people who have held doors for me and offered any help that I appeared to need at that moment.
I’m with you, Sue. Surely makes everyday life easier to manage, doesn’t it?
Lovely of you to let him know how much you appreciated his help. He will probably remember that much longer than the fact he helped you.
Judith – It is a natural reaction to be pleased when we receive appreciation for what we have done. A sincere “Thanks” goes a long way.
Truly, Marjorie, what goes around comes around. Such a lovely moment to remember and share with us! Thank you.
Colleen – Indeed it was an unsolicited act of kindness and I will remember it.
I think “random acts of kindness” are wonderful in and of themselves and even more so when the one who does the helping gets as much, or in some cases more, than the recipient. And you are right Marjorie, we need to hear about lovely young people when most of our news is so negative. Well done…again!!
Thank you, Liz. Again I state how sad it makes me that we do not hear more about the good the thrives in society at large. It really is there!
Lovely! It is so lovely of you that you tell him how much you appreciate his help. I feel warm and nice by your story. Thank you!
Thank you, Seungji, for telling me you enjoyed my blog. May I in return tell you how nice it is of you to keep in touch. That is very good for me.
How perfectly delightful. We all need to hear stories like this one to remind us the world is not the stuff of headlines but of people capable of caring about one another. Thank you for this.
Laurna – I am overwhelmed by the number of people who have taken the time to write, and agree about the good that exists everywhere. My thanks.
Your story reminded me of our dear friend Roy. I would link elbows with him when exiting the church by the rear door. The steps were often slippery. With an impish grin, Roy would say,”Do you think you are going to fall?” Roy was well into his 80’s at the time and fiercely independent, but I think he secretly liked my help.
I love your stories.
Brenda – I, too, remember our friend Roy. His “Never Say Die” personality got him through life, and sometimes into trouble as well! Memories – what a gift they are.
Good for YOU for having the grace to accept help!
The time comes, Alison, when one must be realistic – or be a pain in the neck! We can operate on “Thanks, but I can do this myself,” only so long. When we get to the point of seriously needing help, the sooner we accept it – the better.
Marjorie, this was wonderful! But, I want to tell you there are many of these young people on our streets. In my situation I meet many of them, whether of not I’m in trouble. I liked Liz’s comments about ‘random acts of kindness. It was my granddaughter who taught me about these when she was a young girl in elementary school. I still love the term and the random acts that many of us are privy to.
Yes, Eleanor, I’m sure you are not surprised by my account of what the young stranger did for me. You have encountered such acts yourself, as when your motorized chair turned over on the sidewalk. It is heart-warming, isn’t it? When the two of us get together, everyone knows who is helping who! (and do I appreciate it!)
At the risk of …something … I want to tell you something I did and will never forget. A small Muslim woman and her young daughter were standing at the edge of the escalator at Sears here in Ottawa, looking up.
I felt want & fear on their part, and asked her if she would like help going up — it being obviously her first time. She said, yes! so I took her hand and said, “Now, when I step, you step.” She did, grabbing the railing with her free hand, never letting go of my hand. Her daughter bravely stepped right behind us on the very next step.
Just before the top, I said, “Now, when I step off, you step off,” and she nodded. We all three managed a safe landing. She smiled broadly and bowed just a little. If it was an act of kindness by an old Canadian to a new Canadian, it meant a lot to me, too. This kindness thing goes both ways! Everybody wins!
I love the story, Barbara. It is an excellent example of what one on my readers called “random acts of kindness”. They mean so much at the time to those involved. I also believe the memory of them helps the participants, at the time of need and in the years ahead to believe in themselves, and in others. Thanks for sharing it.
The wonderful thing about random acts of kindness is that these actions only seem random because we are the trees within the forest. I believe, and I think that a lot of research in multiple disciplines backs me up, that kindness is an evolutionary strategy that has resulted in Homo Sapiens being a successful species—to date. I think you pointed it out that it is only our higher intellect that can really deliver the overall score to this never-ending story. When the media is filled with dismaying stories and images, recognizing that the motivation for this—if it bleeds, it leads—can help us all make sense of what’s really going on. These events ARE becoming rarer, and therefore, MORE newsworthy. At least, that’s how I try and reassure myself whenever I imagine things are about to fall apart. I’d rather have more information than less, and I’d rather more people have the same information, so we can decide what to do about it. That’s when the underlying substrate of People ARE Essentially Good will work it’s magic. Thank you for writing such a good example of how the moments in all of our lives are opportunities to make each other feel good by helping and accepting help.
A good response, Bruce. Undoubtedly the next time you are fixing my communication equipment, or instructing me yet again on how to use it effectively, this discussion will go on! My thanks for your interest.