My wife will tell you I have the sensitivity and awareness of a brick. Usually she's right. I tend to be pretty oblivious to most things.
Anyhow, after seeing a photo reflecting how much weight I'd put on, for the last year I've made it a habit of trying to walk whenever I can. One of the places I'll walk is to my local library. It's about two miles each way so I'll put on my earbuds and listen to NPR, or a Pod episode while I make my pilgrimage.
Sunday I walked into a situation I'd never encountered before. I was a couple of blocks from the library and I saw a young woman sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of a side street. She looked bewildered and was in tears. Like a lot of people I tend to shy away from engaging with folks I don't know. In this case I was walking by her and stopped to ask what was happening and if there was anything I could do. The girl (her name was Haley), was probably in her early 20s. Long hair, pretty face, very quiet and demure. It turns out she and her boyfriend were staying in a Fairfax County shelter which happens to be located right next to the library. Her story was that she and the boyfriend had a massive fight and he stormed out of the shelter. She followed him in her wheelchair, but he started running and she couldn't keep up. When she finally stopped she discovered she didn't know where she was. That's when I crossed paths with her.
Even though she didn't realize it, Haley was only a block away from the shelter and so I told her I'd walk back with her. She was clearly upset by the episode so we didn't say a great deal during the walk. She wheeled herself along the sidewalk and I walked along with her and in five minutes we were back on familiar ground. As we were waiting to cross the street to get to the library and the shelter, I asked her what she was going to do. Her response was to text the boyfriend, but her phone had broken so she'd use one of the library computers. At that moment her chair was sitting in the middle of a busy library parking lot so I asked her to let me wheel her across the lot, up the handicap access ramp into the library. She agreed and that's what I did. Last I saw of her she was heading for the library computers. After I check out some new books I looked around, but she'd seemingly already left so I walked home.
So now I'm wondering if there's anything else I could have done, or should have done for Haley ...