Brave New Resident

meldy_nva(z6b VA)October 21, 2010

Tuesday, signalling my turn from highway to local street, I notice a woman standing on the corner, surrounded with large shopping bags. As I turn, she waved at me - and I'm wondering if she is a new neighbor- but there was a hint of desperation on her face. I stopped and she explained (in very limited English) that she had gotten on the wrong bus and the bus driver had dropped her off at this corner. (The correct stop was a couple miles away. It should be noted that those bus routes have identical letter-prefix and similar numbers but the actual routes diverge drastically.)

A thought about our thread on picking up hitchhikers crossed my mind for a millisecond (it's a small mind), however I ended up loading her and 6 shopping bags into my car and taking her to the home she had moved into two (or maybe it was three) days ago. Not only would I not have attempted to haul all those bags, I doubt I would attempt our local buses. I admire her courage in doing so.

On my way home again, I pondered the difficulties of being a stranger with limited skills in the local language, figuring out bus routes, going shopping and managing with six large bags of groceries, and then being dumped off the bus 2 miles from any public phone or store. I think she has more courage than I.

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Good for you! It is difficult to be a stranger in a strange land, been there, done that. I was fortunate that I spoke fluent English, but customs, everyday transactions, transportation was all strange and sometimes hard to navigate.
Kind and helpful people are definitely special.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:43PM
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Bravo. Whilst most of us are not charismatic enough to change the whole wide world, each of us are charismatic enough to change our individual little corner of said world. Which, in reality, don't take no charisma at all.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:54PM
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jazmynsmom(Z5 Madison-ish)

What a gesture of kindness. You did the right thing.

I have an international friend in a very similar situation, and we're doing what we can to support her, her husband and their young son. I'd like to thing that if she ever got caught in a bind and couldn't get a hold of anyone in the extensive support network she's fortunate to have, there'd be someone like you to take care of her.

I think back to what it was like for me as a 20-year old studying in Paris. I spoke the language (sort of), didn't have many cares in the world, and knew I was leaving in six months... but it was still difficult and scary. And I still remember every of the many acts of kindness I received from strangers, and do what I can to allow others to feel now as I did then.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 9:06PM
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Thanks for helping. The woman will never forget your kindness.I still can see the faces of the people in NYC who put me in the right direction on the subway. The first couple of month I ended up in the most interesting places at the oddest times, especially coming home from the theater.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 6:14AM
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Well said, Michael.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 8:39AM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

"crossed my mind for a millisecond (it's a small mind)", Snort. Shows the smallness of my mind because I laughed over this first. you did the right thing.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:41AM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Oh dear. I didn't post for good comments (although I thank you), I was just sitting on a mental seesaw. Part of me was furious at that bus driver -- really! he should have either left her at the stop not tooo far from her home stop, or continued on to the next shopping center where she would have a chance at finding a phone! But a bigger part was thinking of her courage... all those bags, and to be dumped off in what probably looked like the middle of nowhere (houses in this area are all hidden from the street, heavy shrubbery and closeknit trees). And she was neither furious nor tearful, which I just find admirable; she handled the situation with a grace that I know I wouldn't have shown.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 2:32PM
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Several years ago I noticed a woman walking past our house and she was crying. I went out and asked her what was going on and in very limited English, she said she was taking a walk, but she could not find her house.
I invited her in and asked her if she knew her address, she did not. I asked her if she had a phone number she could call and she said she knew her son's work number. We called him and he came and picked her up at our house. It turns out that they lived just a few houses down from us.
She was so relived to see her son, and he was thankful that I helped her. A small kindness can help a lot.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 8:53PM
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