It's all about perspective.

Every weekday morning I take a train and then a shuttle to get to my job in Boston.

One day a few months ago when I had just started commuting this way and wasn't entirely too familiar with the shuttle schedules and such, I saw a blind man getting off of my train. Let me preface this by saying that the stop that I get off at is complicated: you get off of the train, walk up two flights of stairs, walk through the turnstile, across a huge walkway, then walk either down a ramp or down two more flights of stairs to reach the ground where the shuttles and buses are waiting. Hard enough in rush hour for a non-disabled person; harder than I could imagine for someone who is.

The man had a cane that he was tapping in front of him, trying to find the stairs. In my haste and self-involved hurry to get to my shuttle, I glanced at him, saw him struggling to find his way, assumed that someone else would help him, and walked away.

To this day, I feel a pit in my stomach for that.

I made it to my shuttle and watched out of my window as a young man helped the man down the ramp and to his spot to wait for his bus. My mind thought "Good for him. Someone raised him well and should be proud," while my heart told me that MY parents raised ME well, and that that should have been me. I vowed to myself right then and there that any day after that when I might see him, I would stop and help, no matter how late or rushed I was.

A couple of weeks later I saw the man again, struggling but making a concerted effort to appear independent, and I went right over.

"Sir, would you like some help?"
"Oh yes, that would be wonderful."

He offered me the crook of his elbow, and we were off. We walked slowly up the stairs, through the turnstile, across the walkway, and down the stairs to his waiting spot. I make it a point each day to watch for him, and if I ever see him, I always stop. We take our time and chat as I walk beside him, giving dirty looks to the huffy commuters who have to walk a little slower up the stairs behind us.

This morning I learned that the man's name is Craig and he is very disappointed in the Boston Bruins. As soon as I started talking he
remembered me, which I hope isn't because so few people help him. He always says thank you, and my heart always smiles as I walk to my shuttle.

I had the worst morning today... Or so I thought. I overslept, dropped my grapes and baby carrots on the floor, flipped grape jelly on my white shirt, tripped over Brian's computer cord while making the bed, and forgot my breakfast and water bottles on the kitchen counter. Facing my commute in a grumpy mood, I read BigMama while on the train in an attempt to block everyone out. Approaching our stop, I heard the familiar "click" of a collapsible cane, and there was Craig. I offered my help at the bottom of the stairs, and off we went.

I missed my shuttle and am running a bit late because I helped Craig. Looking back on my morning compared to what he had likely already faced, I have a feeling my spilled grapes and forgotten oatmeal were a little less difficult. And the grumpiness that The Boy had to deal with all morning? It's gone.

Perspective is a funny thing.

1 comment:

  1. Katie,
    Thank you for commenting on my blog and for being a new follower! :) It's always nice to find another Texan out there and I do hope you're enjoying Boston. I've never been and it's on my "Bucket List!" I went to college in Waco, so Temple was not far! I definitely had a few stops at the Temple Starbucks on my way to Austin from time to time!
    This post is not only sweet, but it's real. You're right: you were raised right and you are doing the right thing with Craig. Reading it brought tears to my eyes, because I know (and Craig knows) that your heart is big, open, and you will receive reward for your generosity one day. Just think, you're not only doing a wonderful thing for Craig, you're being a positive influence in those people's lives who see you assist Craig every day. You are to be commended.