Old Lady Alert — What Should I Have Done?

Last week, on my way to work, I had to stop at the local supermarket to pick up a quick salad for my lunch. I was in a rush, late again… even though I am my own boss, it was already closing in on 10 am and I had a client meeting to get to and a ton of work on my desktop that had to be done by the end of the day.

Anyway.. just as I approached the market door, a little old lady pushing a cart was just entering. She was walking as slowly as cold molasses running down an ice flow… one of her feet had only a sock on it and looked a little distorted and she walked on it at an angle. There was just a moment when I could have dashed by her, but I was afraid she might be frightened thinking she was being attacked or something… so instead, I slowly and patiently waited the two minutes it took her to push her cart through the doors and into the market. Once there was clearance around her, I dashed by, rushed to the salad bar and loaded up an aluminum bowl, grabbed an apple and headed for the self-scanner aisle. I needed to get to the office.

But there she was again. In the three minutes it took me to walk to the salad bar, pick out my veggies and head back to the entrance, the old lady had managed to walk about thirty steps. Her cart was still empty and she was looking a little lost. She saw me coming. “Look at you,” she had a bit of a puzzled smile, “you’re all done and I haven’t even gotten started.” I smiled and mumbled something about “Oh, I just needed this one thing. Have a good day.” and I headed onward.

I paid for my stuff and left the store, got in my car and drove to the office. The whole time though I was thinking, “maybe I should have helped the lady with her shopping… then again, maybe this was her one big excursion of the day, and she wanted to do it herself, then again… if I did offer to help, how long would it take? does she have a special diet? Maybe I’d buy her something that disagreed with her… and she would get sick… then again, maybe she is a fabulously wealthy eccentric without any relatives, and she is just waiting for one kind person to help her out and she will reward them with all her money when she dies… then again… ” You get the picture… my mind was going in circles….

What should I have done? What would you have done?

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Bea Kind
Bea Kind
10 years ago

If you had offered to help her, she probably would have declined. But perhaps it would have been beneficial for you both if you had chatted a while. A friendly supermarket chat might be all the company she has all day.

As for looking for the golden$ lining; hoping for profit upon the death of the receivee of your kindnesses just might cancel out any heavenly/karmic credits you’d otherwise earn….

Bubbles
Bubbles
10 years ago

I might have said,” I do have an appointment to get to, but is there anything I might help you with? Then Bless her in your mind and let her go !! xoxox

midge
midge
10 years ago

that old guilt !!!amazing it still bites so hard.you know if you had no appointment you would have done all you thought about.there is always next time. you good thoughts save you lol,midge

daffyhill
daffyhill
10 years ago

When in doubt go with your gut…your first reaction is usually the truth.

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Just like I need to remind my self that I can’t help everyone despite my good intentions you might want to do the same. It’s enough that you recognize you might have done more. When the situation allows you will. This is not to say it will always be convenient but this time I give you a pass.

St.Julie
St.Julie
10 years ago

Sister…what would Jesus do?

Cousin Kathy
Cousin Kathy
10 years ago

It only takes a “moment” of kindness to do something that could mean the world to someone else… we are often so busy focusing on the “me” that we miss those “moments”… so take a breath, slow down, and capture the “moment”… the reward can be great… and remember: one day, you too, will likely be the “slow as molassas running down an ice hill” woman in the grocery store.