Instead of asking me for money, as I had expected, she asked me for directions, to the Sydney Eye Hospital.
She was less than a block away, but clearly had problems working out her way. All she had to do was cross the street, get to the other side and walk straight ahead. She was distressed: she had been trying to find her way for an hour. I don't know how many people she had asked for help, or how many had refused her. Her English was so poor that she had difficulty understanding the simplest of directions. So I took her there, and hope she managed to get the emergency treatment she needed.
I can't stop thinking about her, and how my reaction had been to treat her as a nuisance and to refuse to listen. As soon as I realised how difficult it was for her to understand, I took her there, but am ashamed of my initial reaction in wanting to avoid listening and helping her.
Generally people are friendly and helpful. You can stop and ask others for help, and can easily fall into casual and friendly conversations. We, as a people, are generally prepared to come to another's aid, and to enjoy the casual relations of every day encounters. But I failed, initially, today.
I hope I have made some amends.