Really, all I wanted to do this afternoon was fly into the ATM, grab some quick cash, fill the car up with gas, get some milk and fly back to pick up my high schooler from her last exam. If everything went smoothly, I would have JUST enough time. There was only one car ahead of me in the ATM drive-thru. So far so good. I remembered my password–even better. Grabbed the cash, pulled out and slammed on my brake for a landscaping truck which whirred past.
As I paused, a loud, honking, car alarm began going off. Looked for where it was coming from. Smack in front of me, stood a little, old lady pointing her keys at the door of her loudly, honking car. She was clearly distressed and confused. The alarm kept BEEP, BEEP BEEPING. I paused. ‘Nope. Can’t stop,’ I said to myself, ‘Don’t have time.’ As I started to drive past her, I noticed that the parking space next to her car was open. I hesitated. Meanwhile, the guys piled out of that landscaping truck one space over. ‘Maybe they’ll help her,’ I thought. Nope. They glanced at the old lady and moved fast towards the bank. I was going to keep going, too, when a little voice in my head said, “Now, listen. You write a blog about how much you love old people. How will this look to your readers?”
I pulled in that space next to her. The same thing had happened to me several years before. When AAA finally arrived after a full 1/2 hour of the deafening honking, the guy said this: “Just stick the key in the ignition and keep turning it ON until the horn goes OFF. It’s kind of like shutting down a computer. You have to click START first.” So, that’s what we did, the little old lady and I. At first she was terrified to open the door and just as hesitant to put the key in the ignition. But, I walked her through it and finally–mercifully, the honking stopped. “I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come along,” she said with a smile. Suffice it to say I never did get the milk. I got something better–and it wasn’t this column. (Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes.” http://www.helen-hudson.com.)