Sunday, May 28, 2017
I wrote this a few days ago, and just hadn't gotten
around to posting it.
It still resonates.
I gave a stranger a ride today.
Here it comes. Wait for it.
The barrage of safety concerns.
Read on, then decide to chide.
This afternoon, I stopped by the store on my way home.
Not for any particular reason.
Marshall's is fun and the grocery is next door.
I wanted junk for dinner.
While I was at Marshall's it started to rain in a pretty unpleasant way.
You know, cold, gray, splatty.
I carried my bag of purchases to the grocery.
It was easier, faster, and drier than making a trip to the car.
At the store, I picked up some tomatoes, chocolate, and frozen pizza.
Neither practical nor healthy.
I checked out and got ready to leave.
As I was getting my things together, the girl in line behind me asked if it was raining.
I said it had been a few minutes ago when I arrived.
She looked down at the sleeping baby strapped to her chest and sighed.
With a gentle smile, she said, "I have to walk home."
"Where do you live?" I asked.
"Just at the apartment complex across the way."
In case you are wondering, across the way is on the other side of a giant parking lot and across a very busy 5 lane road.
I looked at this girl (seriously, she was not more than 20) and her sleeping child.
Her purchases included baby formula, baby food, cheese, and slaw.
In her hand, she clutched a clear plastic envelope with "WICA" visible on the front.
I didn't think.
I just offered her a ride.
The checker looked at me like I was crazy.
Glancing at her baby again, she said, "That would be great."
Her relief was palpable.
Then I waited for her to check out.
I waited as she paid for every single item with a WICA check.
I saw her carefully read and fill out each check.
She went about the process with quiet dignity.
It was clear she had done this many, many times before.
I watched as she checked and double checked every coupon the checker handed her.
Had her groceries been full price, it wouldn't have been 30 dollars.
She had a bottle of ketchup she decided against.
She didn't have the dollar ninety-seven to buy it.
I gathered up some of her bags and we headed to my car.
This is the point where I expect people to worry about my safety or cry foul about the risk.
Well, stuff it.
That girl asked to sit in the back seat and apologized for not having a car seat.
She told me three things on the way to the car.
Her son is 9 months old.
She is a single parent.
They were just released from the hospital.
As she directed me to her building, she asked about my car with the most charming naivete.
"Did it take you a long time to save up for this nice car?"
I explained that I borrowed a lot for it.
She told me she was trying to save up for a car.
We chatted about cars and car maintenance and how much I would NOT recommend a German car on a budget.
And that was it.
I pulled into a parking spot in front of her building.
If she would have let me, I would have helped carry her stuff inside.
But she waved me away.
Instead, she thanked me with that same quiet dignity, grabbed her bags, and disappeared inside.
Maybe I did a good thing.
Maybe I did a 'dangerous' thing.
I do not care. It doesn't matter.
Definitely, this was an incredibly humbling thing.
My problems are soooooooooooo petty.
My life is beyond blessed.
At this time of year, in the teaching profession, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture.
My good thing today is perspective.
Because, damn, did I get some.