On my train ride back from attending the March 11th charity tea service, I was in the audience of a short scene which made me feel both good and bad – good that someone took action, and bad that that someone was not me.
The scene began when a little girl started crying shortly after the next stop was announced. As the passengers turned her way confused, we all heard her say “I got on the wrong train!” A young lady who happened to be standing closest to her responded immediately to the girl’s cry for help and got off the train together at the next stop to get her on the right train. The girl reached for the young lady’s hand, most likely unconsciously to find comfort, and clung on as if her lift depended on it.
But I actually started following the girl much earlier, from the moment she came onto the train. She caught my attention because she appeared clearly nervous about riding the train, repeatedly checking the route map and looking around restlessly. I could have offered my hand for help then, but I did not.
Maybe because I was standing a little far from her and worried that it would look strange if I approached her out of the blue.
Maybe because I was dressed differently, in traditional wear, and was afraid that I might startle her.
Or maybe, though most likely unconsciously, I could easily imagine what I will need to do if I got involved, and hesitated to spare time for her.
And maybe she keenly sensed that my hand was not the one to reach for… you know kids, they are very good at sensing these things!
There are many scenes in which I am unable to offer a helping hand. But this was not such a scene – I take the train all the time, and I can be pretty sure that no one is as experienced as I am in taking the wrong train, so I bet I would have been the most suitable person to help this little girl out! I had a great chance to turn embarrassing mistakes of my own into wisdom to pass onto another, but I ruined it because I did not have a reachable hand.
I must not ruin the chance to turn this embarrassing mistake into wisdom – I shall make the effort, most certainly consciously, to make my hand seem more reachable! Then, maybe I will have more chances of leaving the audience seat to take part in the scenes I see… maybe I cannot act, but I can definitely learn from this lesson to take action.