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?