Today’s post requires a little bit of set up. However, the set up info really is at the heart of the question I’m posing: What would you do? So, bear with me for just a bit.
The impetus for this post is based on a conversation that, for the sake of this post, I will refer to as Bill. I have what I consider to be a friendly relationship with Bill. I see him several times a week at my favorite bagel shop and we know each other because we have a mutual friend that we both know very well. As a matter of fact, I know Bill because of our mutual friend, and 99% of the time I see Bill, he is with our mutual friend. One more important note about Bill is that, when I do see him, he will almost always do whatever it takes to greet me and sometimes start a friendly conversation. He has even gone so far as to interrupt conversations that I’m engaged in at other tables and in some instances offended the person I was chatting with. It’s never enough for him to simply wave or nod. Let me be clear – this is not me complaining, but I think important to the story I’m about to share.
One day last week after a rainy and chilly night, Bill came into the bagel shop and very deliberately came my way. He proceeded to ask me if the night before I’d had car trouble on the hill just a few hundred feet from the bagel shop. He let me know that he’d seen a car ‘just like mine’ and that driver had looked ‘just like me.’ I was more than happy to share that I had not had car trouble the night before – whew! He then asked me if I was sure, emphasizing again that he was certain that it was me. Now, while I am certainly advancing in age, I am still able to recall an event such as this just the evening before…or even the week before. At that point, I asked him if he’d helped that person. Of course I knew the answer. He let me know he hadn’t and then asked me one more time if I was the one in trouble the night before, stressing again how much the car looked like mine and that the driver had looked ‘just like me.’
At that point I certainly appreciated his concern. However I was quite curious why he had not tried to go and help that person who was clearly in some kind of distress. So of course I asked him. He was quick to launch into a little bit of a story. The short of the story was that he would have had to make two left turns, and it was just going to be too much of a rigamarolle to get back to that person he was convinced was me. He then asked me yet again (during our conversation he must have asked me 5-6 times) if I was sure I had not been stuck there.
I then thanked him for thinking of me and his concern. (Sarcasm alert) I let him know that it was good to know that if I was in some kind of distress that he would be willing to help me. I was careful to say this in a playful tone with just a tiny bit of an edge. He was quick to say that of course he would help me – in fact, he’d have been more than happy to help me. And he stated that more than once as well.
Now here’s my question for you…what would you have done? The way I see it, there were more options to help me, if making two left turns was just too much trouble.
The easiest option would have been to call our mutual friend and ask him to check on me. He knows very well that our mutual friend would have reached out and headed my way in a flash. Two left turns would not have stopped our mutual friend from helping me. Furthermore, there is a traffic light at the end of that road where it would be easy to turn around, preventing the need for the “dreaded” left turns, then pull through the light, park the car and walk less than 200 yards to get to the spot where “I” was stranded in “my car”.
So – here’s my question for you: what would you have done if it had been someone you knew?
And before we end our time together let me just assure you one more time, I’m sure it wasn’t me!