Thank you all so much for the very touching comments yesterday! I loved reading every one of them! I'm sorry to say that I don't have any updates on Helen other than what I added to the bottom of my post yesterday. There were a lot of details I left out of that post because I was trying to not ramble on about the whole 2 hours or so I spent with her. I just wanted to let you know that I did offer to take her to the train station and get her on a train back to Modesto but she said she had things she needed to get here before she went back. Her mother had a home here so I'm assuming she wanted to get some of her things. I didn't question her any further about it but I did offer her help in getting home. I even told her that I might be able to drive her home if she didn't want to take the train. I have no doubt at all that Helen needed help. If you saw her I know you would agree!
Also, I just wanted to say that I really think I got more out of this experience than she did. I can't even begin to tell you how good it made me feel to reach out to someone in need. I've never done anything like that before but now I know I will go out of my way to help another person if they need it. Giving really is better than receiving!
I've had a few experiences in my life, both good and bad that have influenced the way I feel about helping someone in need. The first is just a little something that happened to me personally. I was with my daughter in Target and I slipped on some water on the floor. My feet flew out in front of me and I crashed down to the floor on my back. Usually if I fall (yes I've done this before) I jump right up before I realize what happened because I'm so embarrassed. This time it was different. I couldn't get up. People were walking around me but not one person stopped to ask if I was okay or if I needed help. I was finally able to get up and I was okay. I told my daughter right there after I got up that if she ever sees anyone fall to see if they need help. Even if she doesn't feel comfortable she could go get a store manager but she should do SOMETHING! I will never forget how horrible it felt to have those people walk by me and not offer any help!
Another situation happened to my son when he was younger. His dad I divorced when he was two years old. His dad moved to San Francisco and for years we would share visitation by driving back and forth the one hour drive each way from San Jose to San Francisco. When Vince was about 12 we decided (actually, I was coerced into it) that he could take the train between the two cities. I always made sure I was at the train station early so I would be there when he arrived. One day he got off the train and I could tell the moment I saw the look on his face that something was wrong. I think he was about 12 or 13 years old. This is what happened on that train ride: The train conductor would come around and collect your ticket once the train left the station. Vince's dad had given him a promotional free train ticket that he had. When Vince gave it to the conductor he told Vince that it had expired the day before and that he needed to buy a ticket. Unfortunately Vince didn't have any money so the conductor told him that he would have to get off at the next stop! Vince pleaded with him and told him that I was waiting for him and that I would pay for the train ride when he arrived. He told him NO and was ready to throw him off the train at the next stop. The next stop was a bad area of town with only commercial warehouses and not very populated at that time of day. Luckily there was an angel on that train. A woman sitting across from my son that only spoke Spanish somehow figured out what was going on and she started digging for change at the bottom of her purse and she was able to find just enough to pay for my son's ticket! I will never forget what she did for him! I don't know what I would have done if his train arrived and he wasn't on it! She got off the train before his stop so I wasn't able to thank her. She probably has no idea that her small act of kindness changed my life as much as it did!
When you are kind to someone in trouble, you hope they'll remember and be kind to someone else. And it'll become like wildfire.-- Whoopi Goldberg