On my commute in to work, I have one fairly important subway - bus transfer. If I don't make it, it adds about 6 long blocks to my walk, which is not always a bad thing, but today I was in the mood to bus it. As I climbed the stairs out of the subway, my head cleared ground-level and I saw the bus pulling into the stop across the street. I made a dash for it, realizing that I'm starting to look like an old man when I run. The crowd was too thick and the bus pulled away just as I got to it. Cursing my luck, I set off for the long walk, slightly comforted by the Radiohead playing on my ears.

Just as I started getting going, I heard a woman calling for help just barely audible over the music. I turned and noticed she was blind and I walked over and asked what I could do. Turns out she was looking for a restaurant so I ended up walking her there. As we walked, I described the shops we were passing. We made it to the restaurant and she went inside and it felt like I'd been given a gift for the day. I suppose you could argue that my 'problem' of missing the bus was insignificant to the person who's almost completely reliant on other people to help her get around, and you'd be right in that argument. Perhaps that played a part. I think the experience forced me to slow down and experience life through the metaphoric eyes of another.

dawg, Apr 13 2005 4:01PM

did ye get her wallet?

Heather, Apr 13 2005 5:54PM

Same thing happened to me on my way to work a few months ago as I was hurrying to get in by 9am. I ended up slowly helping a blind man named Bruce on his way to his community center. It was quite humbling.

Ann, Apr 14 2005 12:14PM

This reminds me of a time that I went for a run and I saw an old woman trying to get her newspaper with her cane because she couldn't make it down her steps to pick it up. So I ran across the street, picked up her paper, and handed it to her. Made me feel fortunate that I was able to run any distance, period.

Mark Sanders, Apr 14 2005 5:14PM

I share your feelings of good fortune, but I have also seen a little darker side of the blind and elderly.

I live in Queens and ride the bus a lot. From the train to my house takes a single, infrequently running bus. A lot of waiting goes on at the bus shelter and lines get very long. My blind friend with the Greek fisherman's cap unapologetically and cavalierly busts to the shelter bench while yapping on his cell phone. The bus finally arrives and he knocks old ladies and children out of the way to get to the head of the line while yapping on his phone. Angry cane taps on the door greet the driver. Whoever is sitting in the front seat soon has a man in their lap who will not move. Any attempts to help are met with a grouse.

This experience is no less memorable than the good ones, and I do realize they are only the doings of a few bad apples.

Mark Sanders, Apr 14 2005 5:15PM

Oh, and my wife had her leg fondled by a blind man's cane. It's quite a story.