Just Another New Kid in Town

I do a lot of walking in my neighbourhood. And while I will admit to a certain degree of geographical challenge, I do know my way around much of my own community. A meandering creek forces a few streets to bend unexpectedly or lead into dead ends. But there are familiar routes I’ve walked so frequently, the sidewalks bear my permanent shoeprints.

That’s why my ostensibly good deed a couple of days ago led to a laugh. I was headed to meet my daughter after glee club practice (hers, not mine). A woman, on foot like me, stopped to ask directions. It seems she needed to get to a bank several miles away and had just been dumped by a bus driver. I could see why the driver told her to get off the bus – she had been travelling in completely the wrong direction – but either he didn’t explain or she, having English as a second language, didn’t understand.

After I figured out her problem, I was able to tell her where she was supposed to go. I explained which numbered bus she needed to take if she couldn’t face a 30-minute walk to her bank. I told her that in order to catch a bus in the right direction, she would have to cross to the other side of the street. When Bank Lady still seemed unsure, I pointed out the crosswalk she could use. And as she continued to question me, I peered across the street to look for the closest bus stop. Finally I identified one, made sure she saw it too.

After all the directions and the pointing and the explaining, I figured she was finally set. Then came her parting words: “You aren’t familiar with this neighbourhood?”

I stammered a reply and smothered a snicker. It just goes to show you, you won’t always receive a “thank you” when you do a good deed for a stranger. Sometimes all you’re gonna get is a mildly critical comment.

If you can live with that, you’ll be satisfied simply by knowing that some lady has been able to cash her paycheque just because you took a couple of minutes and helped her out.

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