How far do you go to help a stranger?
This is a point of contention between my husband and me.
This morning for instance.
I took my 5 year old to Target to buy a birthday gift for a friend. On our way, I saw a man in his late 50's walking along side the busy road (no sidewalk), using a cane and carrying a package.
It's not unusual to see people walking and riding their bikes more these days. I attribute it to the price of gas. I see several bikes on the road everyday. They are on the road because when gas was cheap, who needed sidewalks? Now traffic almost comes to a stand still at least once a day for me while two cars and a cyclist try to fit on the side streets.
So I see this guy and immediately in just the few seconds it takes to pass him, I know he is not walking because he wants too. He's moving at a pitiful rate and in open toed sandals no less.
On our way back from Target, I saw the same man about a quarter mile further down the road in the direction of my house.
I came inside, wrapped the gift, and was taking some food out to the mail box (food collection day) when I see this guy on the "S" curve out beside our house.
He sees me.
He stops and yells in a heavy New Yorker accent, "Is there a post office around here?"
I said, "Post Office? Yeah. But its about six miles from here." I point behind me. "In the other direction."
He starts to walk toward me. "I've only lived here a week and I think I made a wrong turn. Can you give me directions?"
Now, my husband is out in the driveway behind me working under our "farm truck." It's an old beater blue pickup we use to haul things for our various projects.
I start to give directions, but the old guy just isn't getting it.
I say, "Do you need a ride?"
He sighs, "That'd be great."
I say, "Let me grab my keys."
My husband comes out from underneath the blue beater like a shot and says (right in front of this guy), "What the hell are you doing?"
I said, "This guy is lost. He's new to the area and needs a ride."
My husband looks at me like something he wipes from his shoes, puts his hands on his hips. "Are you crazy? You aren't driving a man anywhere."
I lean forward so the old dude can't hear and say. "Oh come on. I can take this guy if he tries anything."
My husband shakes his head. "You have lost your mind. You aren't going anywhere."
"You take him then," I put my hands on hips.
My husband looks down at his greasy clothes then back at me, then sizes up the guy. "You have any weapons on you?"
I'm thinking, HELLO, if he did he's not gonna say it!
The guy says, "Uh, no. I have a jacket, a cane, and this box I need to mail."
My husband looks him over for a few minutes. I started tapping my foot.
(I was getting annoyed. I offered the help and had every intention of giving it, with or without his approval. All the discussion was moot.)
Finally he sighed, dropped his hands, looked at me and said, "We are talking about this when I get back."
He hopped in the blue beater and told the old guy to get in.
He was gone about half an hour.
When he came back I breathed a sigh of relief, one I didn't know I was holding.
I was WORRIED for him because lets face it..if you want to hurt someone, or get them to trust you, what better way than say a cast? Or a cane to look feeble.
The last time I made my husband help someone, we were rear ended on the highway, the guy took off, and the cop who came to the scene didn't believe we stopped to help someone.
My husband has spent several years in the middle east in six month and one year segments. Specifically on convoys, and he is distrustful of everyone now...even pre-teens. I saw him eyeing that post office box and wondering what the guy could have stashed in there.
So while he's gone with this guy to the post office another guy comes to the door.
He's asks me if I will deliver flowers to a neighbor down the road since they aren't answering the door. I take them and say "sure."
So when hubby gets back and sees them...he totally freaks out. "MY god, will you answer the door to anyone? Talk to anyone? Help anyone????!!!?"
I say, "Well yes, especially if they are holding flowers I THOUGHT WERE FOR ME!"
He didn't fall for the diversion tactic.
He yelled, "Your job, the only thing I EXPECT you to do is stay safe so our boys don't lose their mom to some sicko. Do you think I want my wife giving strange men rides?!? Opening the door to men you don't know? Come on Tonya. Damn it!"
I said, "You're right."
You shoulda seen his face. He was wound up and expecting a serious throw down.
But while he was off with the cane man I got to thinking, and worrying a little bit.
Sometimes my desire to help someone out, over rides my common sense. Ok, most of the time it does.
My husband hugged me and told me I needed to start thinking more like a man...meaning, men are capable and able to take care of themselves..they don't need a 30 something woman to hold their hand.
Then he told me the guy was completely unbalanced. As in mentally ill.
So, how far do you go to help a stranger?
How far do you let your woman go?