My blogs this year are going to be more about observations it seems…..So another post about a woman crying. I wonder sometimes if things are sent to you. To make you think. To stop you in your tracks. To make you ask a question? What would you do?
A few days ago I was driving to work listening to Mr Sam Smith who frankly I’m addicted to at the moment. Tottering along at a much slower pace these days. Before Tes I drove at maximum speed now I totter and look and basically don’t rush in any way. I get everywhere the same time that I used to!
Anyway I digress. As I approached the town half way to work and turned right on a lane scattered with grey stone buildings, a busy garage and the odd for sale sign here and there. She sat on a ledge on the side of the road. Her face leaned forward but not far enough forward that her eyes could not be seen. Tears fell down her tired face. She was trying to hide her involuntary anguished expressions. She couldn’t. There was a large bag next to feet. This seemed significant.
I drove on. I thought about pulling in but I wasn’t sure. What would this woman think of a stranger asking her if she’s ok? Would she welcome it or would she be offended? I drove on. Then a flash. A memory of myself sitting waiting anxiously, almost 2 years ago, outside a house. I was the woman sitting in tears alone.
And here was I driving on.
So I turn around. I have to. I drive back and she’s still sitting there. I don’t know what I’m going to say. I slow down and I’m nervous. As I indicate she looks at me. As I stop she looks at me quizzically. I know already she doesn’t want me to stop. But I have.
‘Are you ok?’ I ask.
She nods her head sadly, biting lightly on her lip, now looking at the ground again.
‘Are you sure?’ I ask.
‘Is there anything I can do?’.
This time she shakes her head.
It all took about 30 seconds. I gently smile and close the window, put my car in gear and continue on my way. I felt a little silly at first. Had I interfered? Did I embarass her? Maybe. But what was the alternative?
I’ve read a lot on altruism and how we are never actually altruistic. We don’t do anything apparently without there being something in it for us. I’m not sure I agree but perhaps on this occasion I offered help so that I wouldn’t feel bad. Whatever the reason surely it’s better to step out of your comfort zone and ask the question?
Sam Smith continues to croon through my speakers about his lonely hour and I drive on with hope that at least the woman will know whatever is going on in her life, people out there care.
We all need that in our life.