Monday, March 7, 2011

help or no?


Beyond all of our crazy costumes I shared yesterday, something strange happened this weekend. 
And since, I've been questioning my response. 

I was sitting in the base Lodge after skiing and chatting with a father of six near the large fireplace I love. 
He's new to staying home with the kids while his wife works and I mentioned the fact of my overflowing hamper. 
He said, "Please do not mention the word hamper." 
We bonded over masses of laundry. 

While we chatted, I heard some voices getting louder and looked up toward the bar. 
A woman was facing the bartender while he held what looked like a mudslide in front of him. 
He said - It's $6.75. If you can  find that, I'll give you the drink. 
She was rummaging in her bag and I recognized her.
We've had maybe three short conversations in passing over the last few months. 

Without a thought, I jumped up and grabbed my wallet and tossed six dollars at the bartender. 
I've got it. 

I looked over at my acquaintance and she was holding back tears. 
She wouldn't meet my eyes. 
I said- Hey, I can buy you a drink.
She said- This is humiliating. 
And tears fell. 

Then I glanced at the money she had there. It was six dollars with some change. He tossed my five back at me. 
This will cover it. He held up the one.

I thought- He should have just given it to her. She was within a few quarters.

And then she grabbed the drink and walked away. 
She didn't look at me. Didn't thank me. Just shook her head. 

Now here's the thing. I'm a girl often without cash. My wallet can sometimes be found in my diaper bag with Little Bear in child care and I will be thrilled if I find a few bucks in my pocket. 
Or if somewhere takes cash only, this can be a bad thing for me. 
I am ATM card girl. 

So, I didn't think anything about helping out. I thought it was the right thing to do. 
Had someone done that for me, my response would have been- Cool, thanks! I'll get you next time. 

But, hers was nothing like that and I wondered if I'd overstepped somehow. 
If assuming everyone else would react like me was wrong.

Would she had been less humiliated if I'd stayed seated and averted my gaze?

I don't know what kind of circumstances provoked her emotional response, but I worry that I somehow made it all worse. 

What would you do in that situation?


FireWife said...

I think it was sweet of you to help, and although it made you feel awkward, chances are she actually appreciated it and thought of you fondly later. She probably just didn't know how to take it.

I'm often accused of being aggressively friendly, wanting to help out and befriend, just as I'd want someone to do for me. And I've had the same response that you did, too. But I've been thanked later, sometimes months later, for being that way.

She might not say it, but I say "Thanks" for being friendly without cause, and making me feel less... different :)

Joybird said...

Tough one. I too am a charge it girl as I carefully account for money that I have to balance. Cash has already been pulled out of the bank so it flows like water. I agree with you that something else is going on in your friend. And you couldn't know that in advance of your kindness and you don't even know now what it is. Brigetta, I know that your heart was right in this situation. I say pray for your friend and be as loving and normal as possible next time you see her. Let her bring it up if it is a problem. If she feels or acts akward allow her to do so, while you act at ease and caring. Cover her discomfort with your acceptance. This incident was not about you to begin with.

Farmgirl Paints said...

that kind of thing happened to me once. we were getting groceries and it was a cash place and we went way by $35.00. right then a friend from high school walked up. i remember wanting to die from embarrassment. we were trying to decide what to take off our bill. my cheeks were hot to say the least, but in your situation i don't really see the need for tears and all. that was very very sweet of you. i wouldn't worry a bit.

Erin MacPherson said...

I think it was nice of you to help... and rude of her not to say thanks. I mean, I'm assuming it wasn't that she couldn't afford the drink but simply that she didn't have enough cash. It was nice of you to help her out.

Angelica Bays, said...

Honey, hear my heart on this one.
You do what the Spirit leads you to do. How she takes it is between her and God.

My nephew was in a horrible accident- we almost lost him. My sister never would have accepted help before, but both the taking and the giving of help in her situation taught MANY people MANY lesson about the goodness of God.

Only be Faithful...leave the rest to Him.

Anonymous said...

Just my thoughts, but... It sounds like she was already having a rough day, and the shortage on cash was the last straw... I think that was really kind of you to help. In normal circumstance, I think most people would smile and thank you. Don't feel bad, and don't let it stop you from helping somebody else out in the future.

partialemptynester said...

I agree with was a situation that was totally not about did what your heart told you and now put in your shoes, I'd simply pray for your acquaintance...there are things going on you may never know! If you see her again, continue to be your sweet, precious self :))

Anonymous said...

Hello. You did the right thing...I've had times when people react to things and I think "what was that?" You never know what's going on with somebody. You can only do what you feel like you're being led to do.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I think you did the right thing. It is hard to know what she was really crying about.

Warren Baldwin said...

From that response I would say she had a number of other bad occurrencs that day. Next time you see her I'd just smile and say, "Hey, been there myself a bunch. Next time I may need to have you help me out." That will give her an opporunity to feel constructive and needed.