Being of Service with a Stranger

An interesting turn of events occured this morning. I was on my way to work after seeing my neurologist in Union Square. She prescribed me yet another new migraine medication to try since not one of the three I’ve tried so far have worked. Feeling defeated, I waited for the NQR (“the yellow line” as I like to call it). A woman looking very out of sorts comes up to ask me for subway directions. She was sweating and said she could barely think in this humidity. Ah, yes, a tourist. People who don’t live in NYC have no idea how hot it gets in the summer, especially in the underground tunnels that house the MTA.

I politely gave her directions and she was very grateful. I put my earphones back in and got on the train. Then we got stuck at 34th street due to train traffic and I got off to change trains so I didn’t have to wait any longer. The same woman got off and asked me if the train I was heading to would also take her to the right place. “Yes,” I said – “Just come with me, I’ll show you where to go.” And so we chatted for a bit on the train. She’s from San Francisco and has not spent much time in NYC. I love it here, so I’m happy to brag about it despite the oven it morphs into during the summertime.

We got off the train together and I told her I would walk her towards Rockefeller Center – her destination. We passed by my old office with its flashing video streams and I pointed to it saying I used to work there. It turns out she used to work for a different branch of same company! Weird! We continued to chat and I learned she was here to job hunt and was late to a networking meeting. She was so nice and overly grateful for my help. To me, it just seemed normal to help someone out like that. It is basic instinct for me to help out people in AA because help was so freely given to me when I was a newcomer. We keep what we have by giving it away. So why not help out a lost stranger? Finally we reached the corner where we would part and she asked me if I wanted to exchange information. I was kind of surprised by the question, but figured why not? I handed her my card and told her to email me whenever – and good luck on her job hunt.

After having a disappointing neurology appointment filled with no answers and a new prescriptionyet again, I wasn’t expecting anything good to happen for the rest of the day. And then – HP puts someone in front of me who needed my help. Helping people makes me feel better. It makes me think about something other than my own problems for 5 ,10, 20 minutes, an hour. That stranger changed my perspective this morning. My life could be worse. I could be in a strange city, lost, sick with heat-stroke and swimming in the uncertainty of looking for a job. Luckily I’m just battling daily headaches and on my way to my air conditioned office.

Thanks HP, for giving me the opportunity to be of service today.

Have you ever gone out of your way to help a stranger?

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Filed under Headache, Service

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