Saturday, October 27, 2012

What would you have done?

Yesterday evening I stopped at my local grocery store to get a takeout pizza for the family.  The fact it was Friday coupled with the fact Hurricane Sandy was starting to threaten the East Coast ensured that the store was a mob scene.  I literally ended up parking in the lot next door to the store.  Anyhow as I was walking to the store I noticed an older lady pushing a stroller amidst the traffic.  It was already dusk and she seemed sort of out of place, let alone in danger of being run over by the increasingly panicky shoppers who were determined to grab that last bottle of water and loaf of bread before the Hurricane struck (a full three days off in the future).  As I walked bythe woman she turned to me and asked if I had any spare change.  I was surprised for a couple of reasons. 1.)  I know poverty is found everywhere, including my part of Northern Virginia, but I'd never had it face me in the parking lot of a Harris Teeter.  2.) I'm no expert, but the woman had to be in her early 60s.  The child in her pram couldn't have been over two, but there's no way the lady could have been that child's mother - she had to be the grandmother, or someone watching the child.  3.) The woman was well dressed; easily mistaken for a suburban commuter.

I pulled out my wallet, but like a lot of folks, I pretty much buy everything on a credit card.  I literally didn't have a dollar.  I felt ashamed when I turned back to her and said I didn't have anything.  And then I remembers that I had a bunch of change in my car.  I ran back to the Jeep and grabbed about $5 worth of change and thrust it into the lady's hands.  I was still trying to figure out what I could do.  I told her I was going into the store and asked if there was anything I could get for her, or the child.  Her response was that she wanted get dinner at Wendys.  I asked her again if there was anything I could get her in the grocery store.  She said no and in an instance was gone.  

A day later I'm still pondering what I could/should have done ...

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