It is winter. My least favorite time of year. The skies get dark, the temperature drops and the roads and sidewalks get slippery and dangerous. Winter means I tend to stay indoors more often and play host, except for when I absolutely must face the ice. Yesterday I was given a hand in facing the ice… not just one hand actually but three.
On the way to the accountant’s office, I was not looking forward to crossing the slippery street without the help of a crosswalk in the midst of the constant game of frogger. As I got closer I noticed one of the street sweepers had fallen instep beside me. She kept looking at my white skin and foreign face before finally trying to engage me in conversation. We chatted lightly until I pointed to the place where I had to cross. She put down her shovel and broom and grabbed the whistle out of her pocket. She gently took my arm and led me across the street, all the while stopping the traffic at each lane as we went. On the other side of the road, this kind hearted stranger gave me a hug, told me to “go slowly and wear more clothing”
After leaving the accountants office I decided to take the bus home. The only bus that went that direction was an old dilapidated one with holes in the floor. The water underfoot on the bus was therefore freezing into a slippery mess. I stumbled from one pole to the next moving towards the back of the bus. One older man saw my obvious fear and offered up his seat. Totally not the way it is supposed to happen. Bus etiquette says young people must give up their seats for seniors. “Big brother” I said, “I am so embarrassed, I can’t take your seat”. But he insisted and for the second time in an hour a complete stranger helped me out. When we disembarked from the bus he too said “goodbye young girl, go slowly and wear more clothes”
Finally I was crossing my last street to make it home to safety. This street has an underground passage. I started down the stairs, but they too were coated in greasy grimy winter slush. I gripped the broken railing tightly. I soon felt a light tap on my shoulder. “Here let me help you, You’ll get your glove dirty holding on to that… and I am a lot sturdier” said the stranger as she took my arm and lead me slowly down the steps. As a way to thank her I told her “be careful on the road and wear more clothing”.