Saturday, September 10, 2011

I helped carry a double stroller up the subway stairs

Never Done: I helped carry a double stroller up the subway stairs

Come on people. The woman was just standing there at the foot of the stairs, with two kids in her double stroller, waiting for some help. And you all just climbed up without even noticing? Or maybe you noticed and decided you didn't want to A) take the time, B) hurt your back, or C) care.

I asked her if she needed help, and she nodded. I asked her where I should lift the stroller from, and when she just smiled I realized she was not an English speaker. So I tried again to ask where to lift from, but this time using my hands, and she showed me where. (I had never lifted a double before, and I didn't want it to tip over.) Her kids were biggish -- toddlers, not babies, and the thing was heavy. I got up to the first platform, and realized this was not a job for me (I did not want to drop her children) and so when a strapping young guy came by, I asked him if he would carry the stroller the rest of the way, and he immediately stopped to help.

This gets me thinking about the mussar mide (middah) of Righteousness: What is hateful to you do not do to others. The truth is, I really don't know what was going on for all the people who walked past her. Maybe they all had hidden injuries or pressing meetings that would prevent them from carrying a stroller. It is possible. On the other hand, I would think that if they had something very heavy to carry up the stairs, or if they got a flat tire, or if they couldn't get the lid off the pickle jar, they would want someone to stop and help them. Also, as I demonstrated, if you start to help and can't continue to help, you can still help by asking someone else to help.


  1. Sometimes having someone else to ask for help for you might be the greatest help of all.

  2. That's true, isn't it? Especially if you don't know the language!

  3. One of my fondest memories is of being in NYC by myself and trying to schlep my suitcase down the stairs (this is before Brett lived there) to a train --- when a nice young man offered to help. Such small acts; such lasting impact! You're a mensch, my dear! xox