Kindness Misunderstood

I am writing this because of a situation I encountered last evening when I was leaving the laundromat here in town. Most of you know I have mobility issues, and I use a cane. Last night, I had finished my laundry and was wheeling it out to the car with one of those rolling baskets provided at the laundromat. I was using my cane with the right hand and trying to maneuver the basket with the left hand. A gentlemen saw my struggle and walked up to me and asked if he could help.

Many of you may not know how stubborn I am, and I try to do everything I can on my own. That being said, I surveyed the situation, and noticed a truck parked very close to my van on the driver’s side. So, I asked the man who had walked up to me if he knew who owned the truck, as I would appreciate him moving it so I would be able to enter my vehicle.

He said, “No, but he’s sitting in the truck.” At that time, the man in the truck got out and approached us. The man who had been talking with me turned and addressed the man who owned the truck. He said, very gruffly and unpleasantly, almost sounding like he was demanding, “You will need to move your truck so this lady can enter her van.”

The man from the truck took the first man’s demand offensively and began yelling back, using loud profanity and, quite frankly, scaring tears out of me. The guy who had originally approached me got really mad at the other guy and screamed profanity back at him. They both began yelling they would kick one another’s ass. I was getting nervous, as I was standing on a curb, holding a cane and balancing on a rolling basket.

I was only a car length away from my own vehicle, but I could not get past either man. I was pleading with them not to fight, but my pleas were falling on deaf ears. Both men were so angry, their only focus was with each other.

Finally, the man from the truck started to get into his truck to move it, but the other guy screamed more profanity at him, calling him names that would make anyone mad. At that time, the man from the truck again exited his vehicle and said, “Fuck it. I’m not moving my truck.” Then he walked around the truck and started toward the laundromat entrance. The guy helping me moved toward him and began yelling even louder. I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I was getting nervous, but scratch that. I was scared shitless. It passed through my mind at that moment, “This is how people get killed. This is how shootings happen.” I was mortified.

Yelling continued, and I was was crying, but managed to maneuver myself, my cane, and the basket to the passenger side of my van. Shortly thereafter, the man who had originally tried to help me appeared suddenly at my side and said he would load the laundry in my van and help me enter from the passenger side. I let him load my van, but informed him, “Unfortunately, with my back issue, I cannot easily enter from the passenger side, and I definitely can’t climb over to the driver’s side.”

About that time, the guy from the truck came back out the laundromat door and the shouting match resumed. That pissed off the guy helping me, and he said he would call the police. Screaming continued. During this part of the altercation, I managed to go around the back of the van and reach the driver’s side door. There was not much room for me to enter, but enough to get the door opened part way. The method I use to climb into my van is a bit involved and takes a little time, and while I was trying very hard to climb in, the guy who had been helping me said, “Wait, I’m calling the cops.”

I informed him at that time that I believed I could make it into my van, and needed to go because I did not like to drive after dark. While I was saying that, he got the cops on the phone. He actually calmed down long enough to speak respectfully to the police dispatcher and describe the situation in terms that didn’t make him sound like an idiot. While he was speaking to them, I made it into the van. I told him that I was fine but I really had to get home. (Seriously, I just wanted to vacate the situation.)

He informed the dispatch that I was able to enter my vehicle, but the man who had not moved his truck was still being threatening. I remember how strange that was to me that he would say that when he was actually the first one who did the threatening, and continued to do so throughout the whole fiasco.

I’m not sure what happened to those two men because I got the hell out of there.

My point in writing about this was to say that the first man’s whole approach to the situation was wrong. While initially intending to do an act of kindness for me, he rudely approached an individual who might have otherwise, been amenable to helping by moving his truck. There could have been multiple acts of kindness happening, but if one component of that kindness is missing, no one gets help. The other man was also completely wrong by losing his temper immediately and fueling the fire with yelling, profanity and threats.

Seriously, that’s how people get hurt and even killed. It happens somewhere every day. There were numerous people at that laundromat, to include little children.

Kindness. Do it. But remember to respect one another. A short explanation from the first man to the man in the truck, along with a “Please” and “Thank you” may have gone a long way.

Have a great weekend. Be careful out there.

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