October 5, 2015
Dear “Good Samaritan” at the store this evening,
Imagine yourself shopping. Your comfortable pace allows you to read the labels, and when you find something of interest, you stop to peruse.
While you’re enjoying the afternoon’s diversion, a well-intentioned person pauses, smiles, and flings you over his shoulder.
You protest. “Hey, wait, what are you doing?”
The stranger deposits you in the check-out aisle, pats your head, and walks away with a “You’re welcome.”
Stunning? Yes, indeed, but my daughter just experienced something similar this evening.
Her brace broke recently, and the strain of walking causes her discomfort and fatigue. So when we went shopping this evening, we brought her manual wheel chair. She’s disused to propelling it, since under normal circumstances she uses crutches for ambulation. Still, she can make it move with a bit of effort.
I entered the check-out line at the local store. For my girl, the end cap of my aisle held her interest. Her chair did not impede the access of other shoppers. With enthusiasm, she called to me to come see the latest DVD offerings.
As I was engaged in loading up the conveyor with purchases, I asked her to wait.
That is when a well-meaning soul decided, without asking her thoughts on the matter or looking into her eyes, to “assist” her. He gripped the handles of her wheelchair and deposited her in line beside me. He whistled a jaunty tune as he hurried away.
My girl’s face contorted, the twisted expression telling a story of her confusion, discomfort, and anger.
I asked, “Did you ask for his help?”
I tried to attract the Good Samaritan’s attention, but I couldn’t find him in the stacks and shelving.
“Why’d he do that, Momma?”
“I guess he just didn’t understand,” I said. “I suspect he thought you needed to move through the line. I think he wanted to help.”
“You know what, Momma? If I needed his help, I would have asked.”
I nodded. Indeed, if I’d have located the man, I’d have explained that very thought to him. I don’t believe he meant any harm. In fact, I feel certain he tried to help and felt pretty good about himself after the unsolicited aid.
Sometimes, though, the best way to help is to ask if help is needed. Just something to keep in mind.
With appreciation for your desire to help but also a keen interest in promoting understanding,
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