Back when I was in San Francisco, I went into a Walgreen's so I could pick up a new pair of reading glasses. Now that I'm in toric contact lenses, I apparently need them to see my iPhone easily.
As I walked in the door, I heard a woman say "CAN YOU HELP ME? CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME?" I turned around to see an elderly woman clutching a store shelf, looking like she might fall over. "What can I do to help?" I ask. "I NEED TO GET A PRESCRIPTION FROM THE BACK AND I CAN'T WALK ON THAT SLICK FLOOR OR I'LL FALL!" she said, pointing to the tile that started three feet in front of her. "Okay then, take my hand and I'll get you there." I say.
And so I led the old woman back to the prescription department...
As we walked in slow-motion, she went on to tell me how she had been standing there for quite a while, asking everybody who walked by (including employees) for help. Nobody did. I was the first person to even look at her. "Maybe they were in a rush? I'm not in any hurry, so I don't mind," I offered, trying to sound optimistic.
Not that I believed it for a minute.
The truth is that nobody wanted to be bothered to help her.
As depressing as it is to see all the horrific crap going on in the news... as disheartening as it is to hear about all the violence and persecution and terror that permeates our lives... why is this the thing that gets stuck in my head? Seriously, It's been bothering me all week.
There are so many big problems in the world that we can do nothing about... that make us feel powerless.
You'd think we'd seize every opportunity we can to fix the problems we can do something about.
But we don't.
Except this time I did. Maybe it's the thought of all the times I didn't that haunts me.
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Can only deal with what’s in front of you Dave. You did good.
i just love you…that is all.
It haunts you because that’s where all the bad stuff starts…with people who can’t be bothered to think about and help people, to show consideration and a modicum of caring for someone other than themselves.
It’s where it starts and it is haunting.
You DID, which makes you more compassionate than anyone else in that store at that time. As a Buddhist, you aim to reduce suffering when you are able to; you did so. Mission accomplished. Congrats to you!
Awww, gold star Dave! 🙂 I help whenever I can for those little things too. The bigger stuff overwhelms me, and I know no one will be there to help me, but if I can help out with those little things at least it’s something someone will remember for that day and maybe make it a little better. Also, I’m tall. I’m amazed at how many short ladies there are in the grocery store who can’t reach stuff (half my grocery trips are spent reaching for things for other people!)
Your post brought a smile to my face. Good samiritan.
This is so true and really hits home for me. But I’ve known you a long time and I would say you probably stop to help more than you give yourself credit for. You’re just that kind of guy.
Good on ya, Dave. We all do what we can, when we can.
Oh Dave, you are so sweet. I’m so glad that you are out in the world being you. You might think you don’t do enough to to help but you do so much more than many other people that I’m sure you’ve impacted many lives for the better. After all, if it wasn’t for you I don’t know that I would have met Vahid. You did that without even trying. 🙂
Reminds me of the time (again in San Francisco) that I witnessed one of the homeless “regulars” downtown tossed out of a Subway by the employees one Saturday afternoon. I saw what had happened and asked if I could buy her lunch. She readily agreed and we walked back in together.
“We told you to get out and stay out!” they yelled.
I looked at the bitch behind the counter and said, “She’s with me. Do you want my business or not?”
Money won out, as it always does.
Poor lady. Thanks for representing the good people who can find a couple moments to help.
It’s like scouts forgot one of the main things they learned back when they were kids. Sad there wasn’t more people that wanted to help her.
It’s stories like this that give me faith in humanity. Well, a little bit anyway.
I have toric lenses, too. I’ve noticed recently that I can’t see up close as well when I’m wearing them. Just went to the eye doctor and he said I’d have to wear glasses with the lenses soon. OLD!