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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Old Woman Crossing the Street

Good Deed
Good Deed (Photo credit: sea turtle)
      The house where I live is very near a major busy intersection.  Two six lane streets cross at a point where there are many businesses and a constant flow of traffic heading to and from Los Angeles or points north and south to surrounding urban areas.  There is a continual buzz of traffic here as well as many pedestrians making their ways to wherever they are going.

        One particular day I was driving home from running some errands.  It was about 10:30 in the morning so the traffic and pedestrian flow though not at its height was steady.    Waiting for the traffic signal in the left turn lane from Washington Boulevard to Rosemead Boulevard south, I happened to look to my right to see an older lady struggling at the opposite corner from me.  She was laden with many plastic bags--groceries perhaps. Not only did she have a great burden of things she was transporting on foot, but she also appeared to have great difficulty in walking.   Even stepping down from the curb seemed to be painful and onerous for her.   Adding to that physical disability were her bags and a wire rolling cart filled with something that might have included clothes.

       Drawn to the sight, I watched as she slowly started across the street with her burdens.  I feared that moving so slowly she would not make it across the street before the lights changed and traffic would begin moving again.  I wished that there were some way that I could leap out of my van and run to her assistance, but being in the turn lane of a major thoroughfare there was nothing I could do.

         Wasn't there somebody who could help this poor struggling elderly lady?

         The traffic signal I was waiting for seemed to last for an abnormally long time, better for the old lady crossing the street I suppose.  I waited and I watched.

         Suddenly, seemingly from out of the air, a teen-aged girl dressed in white ran to the lady's side taking her bags and the cart and with a gentle hand on the lady's back guided the lady across the street.  As they walked I could see the girl talking to the lady who looked thankful and glad that someone cared about her.

          As they neared the curb my signal changed and I made my turn toward home.  I don't know what happened with the lady and the girl after I left them, but I felt a glowing feeling inside that stayed with me all that day and a memory that remains now.   That was probably two, maybe three years ago, but the image remains vividly planted in my mind.

         I wonder how many others watched this microcosmic drama?  I wonder how many were affected by the outcome like I was?

         The whole incident seemed like the old Boy Scout cliche of helping a little old lady across the street.  Seeing it actually happen put the concept into perspective for me.

         Take the time to help someone during the holiday season.  This time of year is a good time to start if you don't do these things already.  And if you start doing the good deeds, the action will become easier to do more.  And don't do it just because it's Christmas.  Do it for always.

        Have you witnessed any acts of kindness that you'd like to share in the comments?   What are some of the things you do to help others?   Do you ask for help when you really need it?

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  1. That's nice the girl helped her. There are still good people in this world.
    Tomorrow I'm going to help at the downtown soup kitchen by handing out new clothes we've collected and serving food. Looking forward to it.

  2. I would've been watching, too. And wishing I could get out of my car to help. That was very sweet of that girl to help her.

  3. Moments like this make you believe in humanity again. I wish we could adopt the seasonal feelings of wanting to assist others into a 365 day a year attitude. Looking forward to April!

  4. I feel the same when I see someone help a stranger out of compassion. Most of us have elderly or infirm relatives. Wouldn't we want someone to help them if they needed it?

    In a grocery store, almost anywhere, all it takes is a few seconds to 'imagine that was you' in that person's shoes.

    Great post about observing, and storing that memory, Lee, as well as showing us compassion.

  5. Wonderful story especially when one hears about so many uncaring people far more than the caring ones.

  6. whenever you give up on the human race, kindness shines. sadly it doesn't happen enough, we should change that...

  7. Alex -- Good for you, Alex, for helping out the less fortunate.

    L.Diane -- I was pleased to see a young person being so helpful. Kids aren't all bad.

    Dobson -- I know there are many folks out there who do good things throughout the year. Thank goodness for that.

    DG -- You make a good point about ourselves in another's shoes or relating the plight of a stranger to someone we know. Compassion comes with understanding a need.

    Jo -- Bad news is usually the headline while we don't hear enough about the good stories.

    Jeremy -- It comes one person at a time. Pay it forward is a good philosophy.


  8. Random acts of kindness. Is there anything better? I'm not sure. But, they are right up on top of the list.

  9. Heart-warnming story, Arlee! It's always great to hear positive things about people simply lending a hand and doing the right thing, just like that girl.

    I'd like to say I was the type of person who'd immediately have put the car in park, turned on the flashers, and rushed out to help the lady myself -- screw the people waiting behind me; they can spare an extra 30 seconds until I get back to the car. But truthfully, I would have also sat there, watching and hoping that someone else ran to the lady's aid.

    So while I applaud this story and the girl who came to the rescue, it is also a reminder that I can always do more to help those around me...

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Arlee!

  10. Reminds me of when I helped a blindman from our scheme get to the mall. Every little bit helps. Touching story Lee.

  11. Hello Lee.
    My sister and I went to Greenstone mall today to do some last minute shopping. On our way out we came across a young mother with a baby in a pram and a son of about 2ish. She also had a huge parcel under her arm and one in the pram with the baby. Suddenly the little boy ran off down the ramp into the parking garage at speed.
    Seeing what was happening, Toni my sister offered to stay with the baby and parcels while mommy went in pursuit. What could she do? There are times when strangers are trustworthy and willing to help in emergencies, this was one of them.
    It took quite a while for her to catch her son but in the end everything worked out okay. Poor girl.
    Have a fantastic Christmas, with blessings, Geoff.

  12. An important message to remember all the time. We can all stand to be a little less self-consumed. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Yes, if more people took the time to look outside themselves, the world would be a better place.

  14. Robin -- Random acts of kindness are definitely a good thing.

    Chris -- I was tempted to do as you described, but I assure you this is a busy intersection and it would have been dangerous in more ways than one.

    Sheena-kay -- Little things can make a huge difference.

    Geoff -- An outing with kids like that can be tedious. Thank goodness someone was there to help.

    Steven-- Taking a minute out of our day is not going to make our world stop and might help another's keep going.

    Andrew -- There are a lot of selfish people around, but in all I think a lot of people are willing to help when they are called upon.


  15. my favorite is a memory when I had first moved to my very international neighborhood.

    An old pick up truck stalled right in the middle of an intersection. It was driven by an older african american man, and it wasn't re-starting.

    From two separate directions came running a middle aged asian man and a young white man, who wasn't more than 20 years old. The two of them pushed the truck out of the intersection.

    I still live here and still love my neighborhood.

  16. I still do the occasional random act of kindness, but it's getting tougher to do each day in the cynical environment that is my day-to-day existence.

    However, when its done to me, I make a concentrated effort to play it forward.

  17. The secret to changing the world --one act of random kindness at a time...

  18. What a comfort to know that, in today's day and age, there are some people still being kind to one another.
    Okay, I guess I'll stay a BIT longer.

  19. Kindness is such a simple thing, lovely post!

    Merry Christmas!

  20. There is hope for the future. We can create the world we want to live in. Kindness to each other is a good first step.

  21. A wonderful heartfelt story, there are some kind younger people in the world......the ones one don't hear about. Thanks for sharing this uplifting story.


  22. Random acts of kindness are the best. Thanks for sharing this memory.

    There are a couple of grocery stores I shop at that you have to put a quarter in the cart to use them. When I'm done shopping, I usually leave the quarter in it for the next person. Something really small, but I always hope that it puts a smile on someone's face.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  23. Nice Arlee. I love posts that focus on the tiny details of life. They just hit me where I live and seem so worthwhile. Our human feelings and existence is important to share.


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