Sometimes, if you are not careful, you will stumble upon small moments that might otherwise seem mundane, yet are something else all together.
Let me set the scene. I pull up to a stop sign where I turn right every morning, at this intersection is a bike path/crosswalk that my usual right turn goes through, so you have to check if anyone is in or about to enter the crosswalk before you proceed. Today, instead of kids going to school or a venture capitalist in spandex hunched over an overpriced "just like Lance Armstrong's", an elderly couple was making their way across. They were each using those contraptions for walking that look part cane, part shopping cart; basically two handles on a wheeled base. It was clear that there was no need to hurry, as this was going to take awhile.
As they reached the curb the gentleman made his way up the little ramp to the sidewalk, while his companion struggled to get her contrivance over the one and half inch "curb" at the bottom of the cut-out of the real curb to make it easy for bicycles to go from street to sidewalk. Though she was now on the far side of the street from me, I quickly checked to see if anyone was coming up behind me or from my left so I could pull to the side and jump out to help. I scanned for a spot to park, but in those milliseconds someone had beat me to the punch and already set about coming to her aid.
The gentleman had abandoned the safety of his perambulator and made his way back down the short ramp, where he joined the struggle to overcome such a small, yet large obstacle. Having just observed him walk the breath of the street, this version of him seemed different. He moved more quickly, he moved…
…differently. Bravely. He gently helped her get the wheels on the ramp and with a steadying caress eased her along the ramp up to the sidewalk. Only after being certain she was on safe ground did he ease over to his wheeled cane and retreat to the posture and tentative gait I'd seen before.
My instincts were to jump up and lend a helping hand, and no doubt any assistance would have been warmly received, yet I'm grateful I let the opportunity pass. I would have missed something, a very small thing, but nonetheless something profound.