Thursday, 30 July 2009

A woman in need, the woman who helped and the lad who....

In January this year it was very icy. I was walking to the shops, pushing my babies in their tandem pushchair. I skidded crossing a road. I'd just got the pushchair up the sloped kerb on the other side when I heard a thud behind me. An middle-aged woman had slipped and fallen in the road. She looked as if she was in pain. A small crowd gathered around us, keeping traffic away, as I gently helped her to her feet. She already had one arm in plaster and she was worried she had broken the other arm. We were outside a bicycle shop so I took her inside. One of the shop assistants called for an ambulance, another kindly wheeled my boys inside. The small crowd had dispersed, probably because there was nothing more to see.

Although the injured woman, Sharon, told me to go, I could sense that she didn't mean it. So I asked the shop assistants for a chair and a glass of water for her. The she needed the toilet. She said she would be okay on her own, but after a couple of minutes she called for me. I was worried about leaving my boys, so I kept talking so they could hear me. I knew they would cry if anyone tried to take them (I know, I'm paranoid - that's what being a parent does to you)! Poor Sharon. With two broken arms she couldn't do anything for herself in the toilet. If either of us was embarrassed we didn't show it.

As we waited for the ambulance, Sharon showed signs of going into shock. I managed to sit her on the floor and kept talking to her. Eventually the ambulance arrived and they took her to hospital. I thanked the lads in the shop for their help, although I think they were glad to see the back of us.

One week later I was passing the bike shop. One of the lads ran out to talk to me. I thought he may have heard from Sharon, or was going to ask if I'd heard how she was. But no. He asked "Have you wiped any old ladies' arses this week?". S.
This is a great example of kindness and the contrasting ways in which actions can be perceived. On first and second reading, I didn't quite get the final paragraph, but on qualification I was correct in that the lad in the cycle shop was trying to be clever. Trying to be clever but not quite coming across that way?

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