01 December 2005

A simple kindness

I got the chance to be someone’s hero yesterday and I am just grateful for the opportunity. When I returned to work from my lunch break I had to park in the outer reaches of the lot because all of the close in spots were taken. When I got out of my car I noticed an elderly may sitting on the sidewalk near a car two spaces over. I asked him if he was ok. He said he was, but he just did not look right to me so I continued to talk to him. I said “Are you sure?” He said “yes” as he continued to look very unstable, hardly able to hold himself up . I said “Can I call someone for you?” He said “No. My wife is just across the street buying something.” I said “What’s your name?” more in an effort to gauge his level of consciousness rather than to try to make his acquaintance. He said “Dick H.” I said my name is Sharon. He is still sitting on the curb making vain efforts to get up alternating with appearing to want to lay down. I said “Are you cold?’ (It was a cold day here yesterday.) He said “No.” with a manly demeanor. But he continued to look as if he was going to go completely prostrate on the sidewalk. I said “Are you having a seizure.” It was then that I noticed one of his fingers was bandaged as if it had been set from having been broken. He said “No.” I said “Are you in pain?” Finally, he allowed himself to show some venerability and he said “Yes. Oh, yes.” He wobbled some more and I grabbed a small blanket from my car, I placed it behind him so he could lay down without putting his head on the ground. He said “Oh, you’re very nice.” I said that I would just stay there with him until his wife returned. I asked him if this was his car that he was sitting next to and he said it was. I asked him what his wife’s name was.

After a few more minutes, an elderly woman approached us and she seemed very concerned and suspicious as to why I was standing over her husband on the sidewalk. I said “Are you Libby?” She said “Yes. What’s the matter?” I said “Your husband seems very unstable, so I was just waiting here with him until you returned.” They shared a few words, he told her I was a very nice person who just “saved my ....neck.” I asked her if I could help her get him into their car. She told me that he was taking medication that said it would make him dizzy. As we got him to his feet, her and I under each of his arms, he was very disoriented and could hardly put one foot in front of the other. We managed, with no small amount of effort, to get him turned around in order to take the few steps to the passenger side of the car. Then she began to tell me about his having a stroke two years ago and having to take this medication for it which made him very dizzy. In fact, he fell two weeks ago and broke his finger. The finger then got a staph infection. I made sure she buckled his seat belt but I was concerned how she would get him out of the car. She said they were on their way to a physical therapy appointment, so that relieved my concern somewhat. He said that I deserved a medal for what I’d done for them. I said that was not necessary. But I told them where I worked and said to let me know if there was anything else I could do for them. They thanked me and I gathered up my belongings and went off to work.

Maybe it’s the small-town-never-lived-in-a-really-big-city girl in me, maybe, after having a my first grandchild put up for adoption and having my favorite aunt pass away this month, that I just needed to feel needed by someone, but I just could not walk by someone lying on the sidewalk, who may have needed a little help from me. Maybe there was some reason I had to park farther away from my office than I prefer to. Whatever it was, I was just glad to be able to be of service to someone who needed it. A simple kindness really. It was the least I could do.

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