I saw a sight yesterday that gave me pause. I only wish I had thought to take a photo. I approached a major intersection with six lanes of north/south traffic and multiple turn lanes where pedestrian visibility is extremely limited. As I stopped for the light, I saw an older woman with a cane walk from behind the center median to continue her very slow trek across the highway. My thoughts went immediately to the jeopardy this woman was in making this crossing in her condition.
A split second later, I noticed the man walking his bicycle next to her. They were having a conversation as the woman slowly progressed across the lanes of traffic. The man stayed with her even as the light turned green and they still had more than a full lane to cross before they would reach the safety of the curb. That is when I realized, that the two of them were so much more visible than either one would ever have been alone. They were in this together!
Traffic remained stopped waiting for the pair to finish their crossing. As they reached the sidewalk, the man got on his bicycle, said what appeared to be a quick goodbye and rode off. That is when I realized that these two were strangers. This man had put his life on hold and his safety in jeopardy to help provide refuge and visibility to this woman in need. I can only surmise this man had little financially since it was 25 degrees with a wind chill much lower and his mode of transportation was a bike. Yet, he was able to realize the need of this older woman as she struggled with her own financial and physical limitations that required her to place life and limb at risk to cross this highway. With eyes to see and a willingness to make a difference, the man slowed down and gave what he had to assist her. With his bike, his time, and a few kind words he provided safety and shelter for a stranger in need.
Confronted with this picture, we need to ask a few questions about how we go about our day. Do we see the needs and struggle of those who cross our path every day or are we so self-absorbed we don’t even see the need which literally passes in front of our nose? Do we ponder the things we can do to impact those needs even when these actions can be simple and yet so profound? Are we willing to interrupt our plans for even the few moments it can take to make a real difference in the life of another? And most importantly, will we?