Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Choosing Kind

The T (Boston's subway system) is difficult to navigate for anyone, Bostonian or visitor. I'll admit that I still get confused every now and then, and I have all my faculties in full function. I'm just not always paying attention.

Tonight, on my way through the underground of Downtown Crossing, I walked through the turnstyles and watched four people pass a blind man walking into a wall, his stick out in front of him knocking left and right. They looked at him, noticed him struggling in a corner nowhere near either entrance to the Red Line, and continued on their merry way. As we've established in my myriad blog posts, I am a crier. Seeing something like this nearly brought me to tears. But instead of losing it, I took a deep breath and headed straight for him. When I asked if he needed help and discovered he was heading to the same T as me, I stuck my hand in the crook of his elbow and steered him down two flights of stairs and onto a T car. When he got off at the next stop I almost got off with him. Because, what if no one else helped him navigate to the next place he needed to go? What if everyone just watched him struggle?

I decided to write this post, which has nothing to do with my books or writing or recipes or my cats, because I think this is a bigger issue than simply watching a man struggle to find his way. I notice this often and usually in reference to the T - a woman struggling to get her stroller down the stairs or an elderly person not being given a seat when they clearly need it - we've become a society of watchers and not doers. I don't know where it stems from or how it starts. Maybe your mother never taught you the basics like - hold the door for the person behind you, or give your seat up to your elders - but it breaks my heart. If you are reading this, I implore you to open your eyes when you're walking through your day and if you do see someone who looks lost, who needs help lifting something, who can't navigate the cobblestones or in anyway looks in need of assistance say something. Offer your help. So maybe you end up last in line at Dunks. In the grand scheme of things that's small, no, miniscule potatoes. And what you're gaining is the incredible feeling that you helped someone.

Now I'm going to go worry myself silly wondering if that man got where he was heading or if he's stuck somewhere, alone, unable to find his way.

Please open your eyes and choose kind.

~Stephanie
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