I passed a stranded car on the way into the neighborhood to pick up the wife last night (early this morning, whatever) she wanted a soda for wake up time in the morning. I was almost home from another errand, so we agreed we could just go back out and get it together. On the way back out of the neighborhood I noticed the car was still there.
Man and a woman, standing on the side of the road, gas can in hand. Clearly in need of assistance. You never know what you’re in for these days, stopping to help people on the side of the road. But they were in our neighborhood, not out on the highway. It was late, and she did have the gas can.
With the wife’s assent, I stopped and asked if I could help them. The woman was overjoyed, and shooed her husband back into the car while she climbed into the back seat of our road worn Saturn.
She thanked us over and over again, and amongst the other small talk the occurred during the short drive, she voiced her incredulity that “none of her people would even stop to help her.”
Anyone who’s read this blog for awhile will know that I don’t believe in drawing lines based on skin color and calling that race. However, her skin was black, so I can only assume that she meant black people wouldn’t stop and help her. At the time, I was focused on driving and muttered something about “not knowing what you are getting into, stopping to help people on the road these days”; which were my reservations, originally.
The wife, who has had to make hard decisions about helping people in the past (including picking up a half naked girl in the park, who was being loudly pursued by a boyfriend intent on killing her. That’s another story, though) kept up a lively chatter as we fruitlessly tried to find an open gas station. Third time was the charm though, and we got the woman safely back to her car and husband, wished her good luck and a safe drive, and headed back toward the house.
If I had been thinking about the subject at the time, I would have liked to let her know that she was picked up by one of her people. Both the wife and I have been stranded by the side of the road before, because we failed to notice the emptiness of the gas tank; not to mention the times our cars have just flat out failed us. On those occasions, fellow travelers have come through for us, and helped out when they could. They were our people then, and we were her people, now.
We are all fellow travelers on the road, just trying to get from point A to point B on the map. Anyone who helps you achieve that goal is someone you should be glad to have met. A friend in need, one of your people. Glad to be of assistance.