There he stood in the middle of the parking lot bordering Crate and Barrel and the Cheesecake Factory. Motorist zipped by him engaging in full on parking warfare. A small black man in his 30s, he was dressed neatly in a long t-shirt, short jacket and baggy pants. His smooth brown face was etched by distress. Hands waving gently above his head, the young man pled, "Can someone help me please? Please, can someone give me a hand?" He turned in slow circles, hoping that at some point in this odyssey, someone would give a damn. Yet, they drove around him, faces annoyed, frightened and confused. No one stopped. No one even called for help.
A old blue Volvo slowed, cars honking behind him. "What's up man?" a middle aged black man asked. "You okay?" "No bro," he answered quickly. "I need someone to guide me into the mall so I can go to work. I'm blind and the bus dropped me off at the wrong spot." Fearing the younger man would be hit, the Volvo owner calmed him saying, "Don't move, I'm pulling over and I'll come back to get you in just a second." And he did.
Grabbing an elbow, the Volvo angel guided the man to the curb and asked him how he got there. "I woke up blind about 5 months ago," he shared. "I'm married and I've got kids so I still need to work. I found a job washing dishes at a restaurant at the mall and the special bus for handicapped riders usually lets me off at the right entrance." This time the driver, a new one on the route, didn't understand what the man needed and left him literally in the middle of the lot. "It's tough out here man," he went on. I can't get any training and I don't even know how to use a cane yet. My world is a mess." He smiled wryly and shook his head. "I appreciate you though man. Thanks for going out of your way." Arriving at the door of the restaurant he said, "I got it now man, thanks again."
The Volvo driver wanted to cry. He wanted to know when we had become a society so callous and lacking in basic civility that a blind man on a busy parking lot couldn't get help. He wondered if society was worse off than the newly blinded man if we no longer knew how to respond to such obvious need. He wondered if it could ever happen to him, to his children, to his grandchildren. Eyes watery, he returned to his car and back to the race.