Saturday, November 17, 2012

As I was leaving the grocery store the other night, I was walking to my truck, and as I passed the row of cars on the way to mine, I heard that unmistakable sound.  At least unmistakable to me.  A car attempting to be started.  But instead of turning over, that characteristic "clickclickclick...."   I couldn't tell which car it was, but I knew somebody was going to be in a bind.  Dead battery.

I did a mental checklist in my head.  Got a good battery.  Have jumper cables in the back..

I hopped in my truck.  Still not sure which car it was, but knew it was close by.

Sat there a minute.

Saw a woman about my age exit her car with a look of frustration on her face.

Thought...  "I wonder if someone else would help her..."  Put my hand to the key of my ignition.  Paused.

She hopped back in.  Fiddling with something..  Hopped out again.  Door open.  Hand on her steering wheel.  Slowly trying to edge her car out of its parking spot.

Me still watching.

She struggling.

I finally gave in, and hopped out of my truck and locked it behind me, and walked over and asked if she needed anything.

Said she was ok..  was just trying to push it around to see if she could pop the clutch in 1st and start it that way.

I waved off her comments about being fine, and got behind her car and began giving it a shove with her.

Together, we built up some speed..  "You're so strong!" she says..  I chuckle to myself thinking.. yeah.. sure...  If you only knew...

She hopped in as I continued to push and popped the clutch and got started right up.

I waved to her through the rear window as she motored off.  She came around up the other aisle and honked and waved back to me, appreciative of what I had done.

I hopped back up into my truck and sat there again.  Thinking to myself that that was interesting.

I helped her out.  And it felt good to do so.  But...  I realized that I had truly hesitated.  That I came very close to driving off.  And while she had a plan and really might have managed on her own, I'm guessing she appreciated my help.

I felt frustrated that it took effort on my part of overcome some desire to stay un-involved in order to help her out.

It made me wonder about others who may struggle.  Or worse, others who don't struggle at all and don't even give thought to things around them.

While it is good that I acted.  And good that I won the internal battle this time, I felt very sensitive to the idea of how I would feel about a future situation.  How much should I help?  Should I always offer?  If my offer is accepted, how much do I help?  Should there be a line?  Am I doing it for them?  Am I doing it for me?  Why does it feel so unnatural to do it?

Food for thought.

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