I did a good Samaritan deed earlier today that I immediately regretted doing. Has that ever happened to you? It had never happened to me, until today. Since I could not undo my “good deed”, I had to pray that it would be rewarded by ensuring that everybody who might cross paths with this man would be safe.
This is what happened. I was leaving an appointment, as I was walking into the underground parking lot there was a man standing at the pay machine, struggling with the unit. Now, I’m not in the habit of stopping to offer help to a man, usually they’re too macho to accept/need it anyway. But this one was different, not only did he want it, I don’t think he would have let me get downstairs without helping him, he asked for it. As I was making my way through the door down the stairs to the level where my car was parked, he called out for my help. For a moment I thought to push through the door and act like I hadn’t heard him at all, but then I thought; “Would I want somebody to respond to me like that?”
Knowing that I would not, I put my fears aside, because those of you who are reading who are women know as a woman alone in a parking structure, we’re always that little bit nervous, and know that we always need to be mindful of our surroundings especially in a underground parking lot, to help him. But, I could see daylight from the door that led to the street, I was in Yorkville, and figured I wasn’t going to be alone with this guy for very long. So I asked him what he needed. Turns out he couldn’t get the machine to release his credit card.
Now, if anybody has had this happen you know how instantly terrifying it is to have your credit card swallowed up by one of those machines. Like how long will it take for a technician to come and get it back for you. One never knows. Being somebody who has had this happen one too many times I was happy to help. I pushed all the cancel, release, red buttons the machine had. Nothing happened, then I did what he probably hadn’t done yet. I pressed the “call for help” button.
Within seconds the parking customer service kid was on the speaker, he directed me to the credit card holder told me to press this button while pulling on the card, and voila the card came out.
The man was elated. I thought my work was done. He asked me if I would mind sliding his card in and entering the PIN on the machine in case he was doing it incorrectly. And that’s when it hit me. There was nothing wrong with the machine. This man was drunk. It wasn’t until he turned to look at me face to face, and handed me his credit card with a shaky hand, then leaned in to tell me his PIN code that I smelled the booze on his breath.
I thought to make a run for it, because who wants to be the person who helps a drunk driver get behind the wheel of his car. But I didn’t do that. I continued to help him figure out how to pay the parking fee to get his car out of the lot and out on to the roads.
I felt sick with myself.
I still feel sick for my part in putting, possibly drunk driver on the road today. I have no idea why I didn’t do what I wanted to do, which was to ask him if he thought he was in a good way, and up to the task of driving. I thought it. I wanted to ask him. I also wanted to not be the person who helped him figure out how to finally pay for his parking. Yet there I stood, fully committed to seeing my “good deed” through even though it quickly started to feel like I was aiding and abetting a criminal. I wondered if he might turn aggressive if I had challenged him on whether or not he was sober. I just didn’t see a good way to remove myself from the situation. So I just saw it through.
I’m disappointed in myself to be sure, and all I can do, and all I have been doing since I walked down the stairs away from him, is hope and pray that he managed to get home safely without harming anybody along the way. Sadly that’s all I can do about it now. It’s so weird to me that I’m strong and opinionated in so many areas of my life. Even in dealing with men who are out of line on the road, yet when I stood face to face with a possible drunk driver I didn’t ask him the glaring question; and I just wonder why I didn’t do what I knew was the right thing to do. And this my friends has truly got me going “hmmm” indeed.