When I took off on my run this morning, an older model Mercedes pulled over from the busy rush hour traffic, onto my street , presumably stalled. Or out of gas. Or visiting the house on the corner. Who knows? All I knew was that I had a rockin playlist and three miles to get under the belt of my compression pants, which have this annoying habit of falling down.
I quickly forgot about the car and driver as I slugged through the neighborhood streets. I was too busy thinking about how much farther I had to go, how my right shoe felt weird, and whether or not I was going to flash passersby a view of my crack.
Isn’t it always that way? We’re busy. We don’t want to get involved. Surely people have all of their affairs under control. Why would they need help from little old me? I’m lucky if I can keep my wits about me in my day to day activities, much less throw myself into a stranger’s problems.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
When I finally finished my miles and started my cooldown around my block, the Mercedes was still there. A middle aged man stood in his jacket and a baseball cap, peering under the hood, trying to see if he could figure out what was wrong, or at least trying to appear as if he knew what he was looking at. “Mmhmmm…mmhmmm…looks like the flux capacitor.”
Totally something I would do.
His hesitant stance told me that maybe he did indeed need some help, but surely he had contacted someone? Everyone has a mobile phone these days. Someone was coming for him, to help him jump his engine or fill up his flux capacitor with plutonium. I know nothing about cars. My husband knows nothing about cars. Really, what could we have done?
But as I continued to walk, I wondered. I looked at all of the cars passing by, people rushing to get to work or school on this chilly early morning. The driver continued to stand in front of his car, shuffling his feet and poking at its innards. And all of the sudden I was uncomfortable with my apathetic decision to pass on by.
Just ask if he needs any help.
What am I going to do? Jump his engine with your iPod? Hook up the left earbud to the black, the right earbud to the red, and turn that Mumford & Sons up to full blast?
Well,you could call someone…
I don’t have my phone on me.
Dude. You live two houses down.
Dude. Do I really want to interrupt my morning for this guy? He’ll surely throw off my whole routine and make me late for preschool.
Um, hello….you’re always late anyway. At least this time you’ll have a good reason.
So it was with that riveting internal conversation that I decided to jaunt halfway into the street – because let’s face it, I wasn’t fully committed yet – and ask the man if he needed to call someone to come help him out.
“Oh, I’ve called a tow truck. That’s very kind of you.”
“Okay!” I gave a little wave, turned around, and continued on down the street, a little skip in my step. I had done a good thing. I mean, I know I didn’t help him restart his car or anything, but at least I offered some sort of assistance, unlike all of those other people just going about their busy mornings. Can you believe that not one other person stopped to see if they could do something? Okay, that’s not the point. The point is that my heart told me to stop and ask, and I did. I was bursting with feel goodiness.
That’s very kind of you…
Wait. That is what he said right? That’s very kind of you.
Or was it You don’t mind, do you? We were right next to a busy road, and the rushing of the other cars was making a lot of noise
Omigod! He totally needed my help and I brushed him off, waving and walking away like a lunatic.
No, he totally said That’s very kind of you. Clear as a bell. A bell surrounded by lots of white traffic noise.
I think. Well, he’s not there now, so apparently someone helped him.