I’m leaving the station today and across the street a man is wobbling. The heat’s got to him. He drops his backpack and crumples to his knees.
I ran over to see what I could do to help .
“Water,” he says. “Got any water?”
I ran back to the station, scooped up two bottled Evian and returned to the sidewalk where the man still sat, pale and perspiring, that cold sweat caused by dehydration. I twisted off the cap and handed him the first bottle and, watching him pour it over his head, I’m thinking If I knew you were going to do that I wouldn’t have bought the good stuff.
A few minutes go by. I learn his name, Ed, and ask him where’s he’s going. He says his mom’s in East Pasco, which isn’t a walking distance, especially in 100 degree heat. But the bus stop is just over there, Ed says.
A few minutes more go by. Ed has finished his second bottled water–this one he drank–and he’s looking better. I help him to his feet.
“Sure you’re okay?” I asked.
Ed thanks me. We shake hands and he starts walking to the transit center and I get into my air-conditioned truck, wondering if I’ve done enough. I suppose I could have gone a half hour out of my way and given Ed a lift to his mom’s, but you know how it is; a stranger and all.
I’m home later and it hits me. No bus service on the 4th of July.
Ed was having a bad day and I could have made it just a little less so had I taken that 30 minutes out of my day.
(And this brings up the question. Why there isn’t at the least limited bus service on holidays? How do people like Ed who rely on public transportation get around, get to work, to church, to visit relatives?)
I hope you made it to your Mom’s okay, Ed.