August 25, 2010

Faces of the City

I was ready to dash up the escalator at Rosslyn, when, halfway up, I saw someone blocking the left side.  Damn tourists, I thought to myself, Why can't they ever learn?  The other escalator was not working, so I had no choice.  Up I went, thinking: when I get to them, I will find a way to get through.

There was no way through.  Taking up the entire escalator width were two elderly women.  The older one was much the stronger one, standing with her arm extended around the other, frailer woman.  The frail one had a cane, and was wearing a clean but old pair of slacks and white t-shirt; her hair looked like it had not been brushed in days.  The other was more dressed up, in a bright pink skirt, her sable hair in a tidy bob.

Needless to say neither I, nor the other commuters sprinting up that long long escalator would dare barrel through these two women.  Their seemed mutual dependence would move the heart of even the most rushed and distracted commuter.  I took note of it in my head, saying a quick God bless you, and as we reached the top of the escalator, nose in my book, I walked quickly by and out onto the street.

That would have been the end of my tale, were it not for the bus being extremely late.  Some minutes later these two women walked slowly and laboriously in view.  The pink-skirted woman said, rather loudly, "What is your name? Nancy? I am Susan." And, having helped the other women onto a bench, sprang up lightly and energetically, and went off to the taxi stand.

I suddenly realized that these were not old friends, but rather total strangers.  I grinned from ear to ear, and could have kissed Susan for the beautiful thing she had done helping that women who, though younger, was in much worse shape than she.  When Susan came back, she helped Nancy into the cab, and said "The driver has assured me, if you need help getting out of the car, he will see you to your doorstep."

Would that we were all such good samaritans.  I often confess being impatient on the metro (and one priest told me I should go to bed earlier!).  With this dear woman as an example, I sure hope I learn.


N.B. My goodness, it has been a long time since I have done a "Faces of the City" feature.  Read others here.

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