I did something out of character today. Every weekday, I take the wee lad to daycare while his mother takes the bus to work. Today, however, the daycare was closed due to Remembrance Day so his mother took the day off to take care of him. I took the opportunity to schedule today to get my winter tires put on at the dealer’s as doing that in addition to the daycare run would have complicated things.
I made a point of leaving early so I could be there when the dealer opens so I could take their shuttle to work. So I was alone in my car at 6:30 this morning when I set out to leave for the the dealer.
As I put the keys in the ignition, there was a rap at my window. Standing there was a woman who appeared to be in her 50’s. She asked if I spoke French. I told her that I did so she explained to me that she had spent the night at a friend’s and needed to get home but had no money for the bus and could I please drive her to 25th and Provost?
In this situation, I normally do one of two things: lie and say I don’t speak French (not entirely untrue, while I understand it, speaking it has become increasingly difficult for me), lie and say I’m not going in that direction (today I actually was), or simply tell her coldly that I’ve no interest in giving her a drive because she doesn’t have bus fare and tell her next time, get a monthly bus pass.
This morning, I did the out of character thing and agreed to drop her off on my way to the dealer. I very quickly made the decision to do this based on the following criteria:
- It was 6:30am and my mind isn’t very sharp.
- It was 6:30am and as far as I know, most murderers sleep in until at least 9:00am.
- I was chiding myself for being afraid of people and assuming there was something untoward in her request.
- If it came to it, I could take her down with relative ease.
She reeked out of cigarettes and we didn’t talk much. I had trouble explaining that in French that I was getting my winter tires done which was why I was driving in this direction. She joked that my wife would think I’m having an affair. I told her I doubted that. But then I wondered, “How do you know I’m married?” (well, common-law but you get the point). But the baby seat in the back seat may have been a clue.
So, in the end I wasn’t mugged or knifed. I dropped her off, just like she asked and we both went about her business. I suppose I could get judgmental and wonder what she’s spending her money on that she can’t cover bus fare but I don’t know her circumstances so why speculate? Everyone I know has the ability to get from A to B under their own steam so it’s odd to me to come across someone who has to ask a stranger for help but that’s as far as that goes.
But I just thought, “I’m not going to give this person the brush off. What she’s asking isn’t even an imposition on me. I’m going to that neighbourhood anyway so I may as well as be kind today.”
Did it make me feel better afterward? No. Not at all. But it did take me out of this social notion we have that people who appear to be in unfortunate circumstances are about to attack us at all times.
There probably isn’t any more to this than someone needing a lift.
Of course, tomorrow if she shows up at my door, requesting another lift, well then I’ll be a bit peeved.