Friday, November 5, 2010

Pay It Forward Friday

When helping out the elderly there is a fine line between being kind and completely crushing their ego.

This Monday Brian and I treated the kids to breakfast at a cafe just before their doctor appointment.  The cafe is located in small, indoor mall.  The cafe is open to the rest of the mall except for a small waist-high wall that serves as its border.  We were seated right in front of this wall.

While we were eating our omelets and Mickey Mouse pancakes I saw a woman sitting behind us gasp.

"That man just fell!" She said.

I stood, peered over the half wall and saw an elderly gentlemen lying on the floor save for the one elbow he had managed to prop himself up on.

"Do you need help, sir?" I asked.

"It's that rug that needs help!" He cried out.

The rug at the entrance of the mall had bunched up causing him to trip and fall.

"I can see that," I said, "Here, I'll help you get up."

The woman who had originally seen him fall was walking all the way around the half wall so that she could get to the man.  But I knew I could get there faster if I simply got over the wall.

So, throwing socially-acceptable behavior aside, I hoisted myself up and threw one leg and then the other over that wall.  Brian would later replay the events for me, laughing.  "You just jumped that wall without even thinking!  That was awesome!"

I got my arm under one of the man's arms and helped him to his feet.  By now the other woman had arrived as well as the restaurant host.

"It was the rug's fault," I explained, "It was the rug that made him fall."

The truth was, the rug did make him fall.  But had it been any other able-bodied adult, they probably would have tripped but not fallen.  Or even if they did fall, they certainly would have been able to pick themselves up quick enough not to draw too much attention.  But I said this because I knew the man was embarrassed.  I knew lots of people were now watching us because of the crazy lady that jumped the wall.  And I knew the man felt like a small, helpless child.  So in an effort to give him just smidgen of his ego back, I blamed the entire thing on the rug.  And that felt good.


This morning I had a Pay It Forward Friday entry sent to me via email.  I will share it here:

Yesterday as I was exiting a Fleet Farm store with two cases of recreational vehicle antifreeze and a duffle bag riding on the top of my cart, the bag and one of the cases of antifreeze fell off the front. No big deal, right? A fella coexiting stopped and said, "Let me help you."  Before I knew it he had both items back in my cart.

When the items fell I immediately thought, "With my sore shoulder this is going to hurt." How did he know?

I thanked him. He said, "Sure." Not only did our eyes never meet, we did not even see each other's faces.


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