She was old, she was blind, and – as I discovered rather late in the game – she spoke NO English.
She stood at the street intersection through three light changes, obviously helpless – and as a teen, having JUST read about the altruistic concept of Random Acts of Kindness (…not to mention my long familiarity with the Scouting Code of Honor), I felt compelled to lend a hand.
My gentle offer of assistance was met with a blind glare; my helping hand on her elbow was shrugged off, and my insistence that we ‘walk on green’ was met with a barrage of undecipherable guttural syllables; but at last I got her to the opposite corner where she stood flailing about with her white cane, trying to reach me. Undoubtedly to say ‘thank you’.
Still I hesitated, wondering if perhaps the Scouting Code of Honor dictated that I see her safely home – wherever that might be – until, on the opposite corner (i.e. where we had stood) I espied a cabbie roll up, open his door, and look around for his charge until he spotted us on the opposite corner of the busy intersection and had to make some death-defying moves to get to the side of Miss Witch, who by now was actively seeking out her unhelpful perp and shrieking like a banshee.
And further inspection of the intersection where we’d stood revealed yet another clue to the sordid affair: the Slovenian Hall at the corner, from where my victim blind friend had obviously emerged – and, upon reflection, where somebody had undoubtedly thoughtfully called her a cab, then placed her RIGHT where said cabbie could quickly pickup. Until I came along, Scouting Code in hand.
Well, on paper Random Acts sounds lovely – but it needs a leetle fine-tuning to achieve REAL kindness, apparently.
Enough of blind people: obviously most could easily fend for themselves. (And I later was informed that Mrs. Melanchosivc indeed spoke no English – so her friends at the Slovenian Hall (who touted a bit more fluency) had called her cab and placed her strategically right where it should have alit – before I become involved in the matter.)
As I obviously hadn’t learned my lesson on Kindness, my next Random Act took place at the supermarket. As a teen I had reached a goodly height well before my peers (later lost: at 5”3 I am now nearly a MIDGET), which afford me a certain skillset others sadly lacked. Specifically: reaching top shelves at the local Bell Market.
So when I espied the diminutive Mrs. Sharp literally hopping up and down for the canned prunes at the top shelf of Aisle 9, it seemed a no-brainer to lend a hand.
Too bad the busy clerk had enthusiastically created Prune Mountain at the apex of Aisle 9 – and too bad for both of us that there was a subsequent avalanche prompted by the innocent removal of a single prop, prompting two adults to race through the store screaming “Avalanche! Cleanup on Aisle 9! Run for your lives!” when the canned pineapple tower beside it jumped into the fray.
And equally too bad the half-deaf senior bagman Mr. Spreckles observed screaming and running and made the only logical conclusion in his intellectual arsenal – fire – and pulled the cute little firebox lever (…something he later confessed that he’d ALWAYS wanted to do….)
We emptied da joint. And to her credit, during the deposition, Mrs. Sharp kept insisting the entire event was (and I quote) “NOT HER FAULT – she was ‘just trying to be helpful’.”
My third (and final) Random Act took place at the playground, where I observed little Suzie Smartpants in dire need of Swing Assistance. Not being so old as to not recall the relative unhelpfulness of adults in achieving orbit via swing, I was only too pleased to lend a hand.
My gentle pushes, however, proved entirely unsatisfactory as Suzy apparently aimed for the stars – and, sympathetic, I was certainly willing to help her get there, given the glaring absence of her Mom (who was, Suzy repeatedly stated in a loud and proud voice, in THE BATROOM).
Was it MY fault that as soon as Suzy could espy the rooftop on equal footing she lost her courage and began screaming for her mother?
Was it my fault Mom charged out of the women’s restroom a mere 10 feet away without the proper zipup and tuck in, convinced her child was in dire danger?
Random Acts of Unkindness.
Nobody tells you it’s just too easy for good intentions to go baad….