Under the Quilt

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Good Deed (aka: what could have potentially put me on the front cover of the paper)

I still remember the film strip (yes, I'm that old. It was not a VHS but a real live film). The setting: Driver's Ed class in high school. The movie was, I'm guessing by the style of clothes and the types of cars, set in the '70's. The message was still quite clear. DO. NOT. EVER. PICK. UP. HITCHHIKERS. No matter if it's an 80-year old granny with her white, poofy-haired poodle. She might look innocent, but she also might be toting a gun under her granny smock.

Today, I picked up my first one ever. Although it wasn't an innocent grandma. And I wouldn't exactly call them hitchhikers. As I'm sitting at a very busy intersection, innocently on my way to my very boring knitting group, out of the corner of my eye I spot a woman and two children crossing in the area that should be marked with a crosswalk. I say 'should' because, in fact, there is not designated crosswalk in this VERY busy intersection. How is that possible? Are people not supposed to walk on streets anymore?

Anyhow, as they crossed in front of my van the woman approached the passenger side. She had a crazed look of desperation (this will come up later) on her face and my defenses immediately went up. Crazed lady. Approaching van. Driver's Ed film. Need to get away. Instead I listened to her request of getting a ride home for herself and her children. Apparently, their car had been towed (sounds typical, right?) and they were stuck. The children were each carrying a 7 lb. bag of cat food. One of the bags had a rip in the bottom and so they were struggling to not spill it. Did I mention this is a VERY busy intersection and the light has now turned green and I'm first in line to go? I had to think quick. Ultimately my mom instincts took over. I know I've had that same look of desperation on my face as a parent. I also did not see any large bulges under her shirt so I was pretty sure (going on blind faith) that I was not going to get shot up and left to die.

I asked where they were headed and it was sorta kinda on my way. It actually ended up making me 30 minutes late but I didn't mind. I agreed and they hopped in. (Quick sidenote: in the whole line of cars behind me, not one person honked their horn in annoyance. Only in Ohio) Along the way, the mom started to calm down a bit and the kids made themselves at home. Mom said that they'd driven over to the nearby lake and then stopped at the grocery store. When she came out, there was a police officer writing her a ticket for expired tags and making the call to have her car towed. I'm not sure if I believe this story. I'm inclined to think she was telling the truth because our local police like to pick on people like this. I've heard first and second hand stories of officers pulling over girls late at night in an attempt to "hook up". And other such things. But that's beside the point. I was, at this point, trying to get a feel for this woman. She seemed ligit. She also hadn't made a move for my purse sitting on the console, wide open with a wallet full of credit cards. So I figured I was pretty safe. The Driver's Ed video was slowly fading from my memory.

Mom said that they had been wandering, literally in circles, on this road. She said she felt delirious at one point. I know the feeling. As a parent, you instinctively want to keep your kids safe and then the rug gets pulled out from under you. And then you find yourself hitching a ride home. I wonder if she specifically came to my car because she saw a woman in a minivan. Would she have asked some rough looking guy in a beat up truck for a ride? Who knows. She said at one point (during their wandering) that she dropped down to her knees and prayed for help. So, essentially, I was sent from God this afternoon. It's a good feeling.


  • At 9:55 AM , Blogger His suzy said...

    I'm not sure I would've done it myself, but good on ya for helping someone out. And I'm glad she turned out to be normal!

  • At 1:46 PM , Blogger Roxanne said...

    The children are the *only* reason I did it.

  • At 3:56 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

    Definitely good karma for you :) I would have tucked that wallet in my pocket, though ;) Maybe it's just New York paranoia talking...D got his bike stolen today.

  • At 4:31 PM , Blogger Caro said...

    You're a sweetheart.

    Poor lady.

  • At 5:44 PM , Blogger Roxanne said...

    Bearette- I hope so. I didn't notice my open purse until halfway through the drive and didn't want to be obvious by moving it away. I figured since she hadn't made a move for it yet, it probably wasn't going to happen. Poor D. :( Was that the expensive one? I hope they can recover it somehow. *fingers crossed*

    Caro- I try to be. I hate that most of the time I don't help out because we are now trained to think that everyone is potentially dangerous. I wish I could help out more often without feeling vulnerable.

  • At 11:28 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

    Rox - yeah, it was the expensive one. He locked it to a pole that was about 6 feet high. He figured they wouldn't pull it up and off the pole because it was broad daylight. But they did. And no one stopped them.

    I swear, if these ppl only applied themselves with equal diligence to other endeavors...

  • At 9:41 AM , Blogger Liz said...

    You're a good person, Rox.

    I saw filmstrips in school, too. We always hoped the film would break. :D

  • At 7:09 PM , Blogger Caro said...

    Roxanne - You summed that feeling up wonderfully. I'm sure that's why people don't help out more nowadays.


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