Thursday, 10 May 2012


While walking through the park to the Art Gallery today, I was accosted by a woman. I tried to avoid her, but she blocked my passage. I dislike being accosted, so was all set to give her short shrift.

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.


Relatively Retiring said...

But you more than made up for a temporary hesitation.
We are often right to be wary - sadly.

molly said...

But in the end you took her there yourself which was more than anyone else was ready to do. Because of you she might still have some faith in her fellow humans.

Gillie said...

I agree with both RR and Molly, caution is good and in the end she got there. Please don't beat yourself up, we have all wished that we had been more helpful on occasions.