Friday, October 30, 2015

Needing Help Squared

I got on the elevator, alone. Just as the door was closing a young man stepped in and scooted beside me. I noticed him when going to the elevator, he had been standing with a small group of other young people, all of whom looked like they lived rough. A voice calls out as the door is closing, "Hold the elevator please!" I am by the panel so I hit the 'door open' button and a fellow gets on, slightly older than the youth, maybe early twenties, wearing a very nice suit. He stands for only a second by the younger man, sniffs the air for a second, reaches out and stops the door from closing. He says, "I'll take the next one." He gets off.

The door closes. The young man beside me doesn't react to the slight. He knows that he smells of booze and cigarettes and sweat. It's not a surprise. I don't react either, everything I can think to say sound, in my mind, as either trite or patronizing.

But then something great happened.

The door opened on the floor we were both going to. I pushed to get off, because I was in position to do so. My front wheels just wouldn't go over the small lip created by a slightly uneven landing by the elevator. I tried a couple of times. The young ;man stood listlessly beside me, simply waiting. No urgency on his face.

I turned to him and asked, "Could you grab hold of the chair and give me a wee push?" He was now alert. "You want my help?" His voice was incredulous. "Yeah, if you wouldn't mind." He looked at the chair and said, "What do I do?" I said, "Get behind me, when I ask, just push." He did as I asked, I put one foot on the floor to give lift and asked him to push on the handles as I pushed on the wheels. I was out.

I turned and said, "Thanks."

He turned away from me. Not wanting me to see.

He was crying.


Susan said...

Dave, when I am with you, who you are (so accepting) and how you relate (so naturally) makes me feel - intensely - both vulnerable and safe at the same time. I get it. You're awesome. ❤️

clairesmum said...

2 in need..2 who gave....2 who received....2 hearts moved......
and a third, mine, on reading this blog today.
blessings on that young man...and on you, Dave.

Antonia Lederhos Chandler said...

Wow. Who knows where he was coming from that day? And where he was going. . . Helping you may have made him feel worthy to have been in that elevator, even though someone else hadn't appreciated his presence. You were of service to him, Dave.

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

You consistently treat people as valuable humans.

What a novel idea!

Poor kid. I'm so glad you needed his help.

AkMom said...

OK, wow.
No words.
I am crying, too.
Beautiful, Dave.
You made this young man's day.
You made him WORTHWHILE!!

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing he doesn't get many opportunities to feel very good about himself!!! Glad you could offer that chance to him!! (not to mention a bit of dignity on the side!)

Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone said...

Helping other people is a greatly powerful thing when you are struggling yourself. It pisses me off so much when people say you have to be stable, homed, "in recovery" etc to be "ok" to volunteer time and expertise because of it.

theknapper said...

thinking about a phrase I heard on cbc years ago on Tapestry
"You never know when you are on holy ground...."
You both gave to and received from each other and were touched by simple but profound connections.....and that fellow in the suit has no idea what he missed.

Ettina said...

It's such a great feeling to realize that some small thing you did made someone else's day a little better. Shortly after I got my puppy, I was out walking her and we approached a woman who was scowling. My puppy started towards her (she's very friendly) and then noticed the scowl and shied away. Then the woman noticed my dog and her face brightened and she stopped to give my puppy some petting.