Here is an anecdote mom submitted to the Life in These United States department of Reader’s Digest. It’s typed and she wrote “9/16/85” in the upper margin, so that’s how I’m dating it. It’s funny to see our old address and phone number. I can’t say for certain if it was ever published in the magazine, but I know she was always sending things like this to magazines to try to earn a few extra dollars here and there.
Kathleen A. Gagne
1000 Fifteenth St., #1003
Holly Hill, FL 32017
(904) 253-4942 Home
(904) 252-1511 ext. 229 Work
My neighbor is a kind-hearted young woman who has worked with and has a deep affection for the elderly. One day, she was on a downtown sidewalk of a small Florida city when she espied a couple, clearly in their eighties, having difficulty managing to step from the curb to the street next to a parked car. The man was using a walker and appeared to be very weak. His wife was holding onto his arm, trying to help. My neighbor, of course, stepped forward, opened the door of the car and with gentle, loving care, assisted the man into the passenger seat while the woman stood by distressed and quietly protesting that they did not need my friend’s help. Undaunted, and touched by their desire for independence, my friend managed to get the walker into the back seat as the man looked up at her with sad eyes. Finally, she turned to his wife. “If you like,” she offered generously, “I’ll help you around to the driver’s side.” The woman wrung her hands, shaking her head in despair. “My dear, please listen to me. We appreciate your help. But, this is not our car. We’re just trying to get to the bus stop across the street.”
Needless to say, she got them across the street safely, grateful that the real owner of the car did not come out.
Please consider the above contribution for “Life in These United States.” It is true, and, as we laughed over it we felt it reflected not only the human desire to help, but also the occasional tendency to offer slightly the wrong kind.
Kathleen A. Gagne