I was walking home along Park, when I notice a frail, black woman leaning against the building of a doctor’s office, her hands gripped tightly around her walker.
In her 80s, obviously cold, and boy, was it that.
Last I looked, it was 32 with a wind whipping at one’s heels.
“Ma’am, are you okay?” I gently asked, not wanting to intrude nor alarm her. It can be tricky helping the elderly since pride is one of the last things they have left. She looked at me for a second before saying, “Well, I’m waiting to be picked up, but they seem to be running behind.”
“How long have you been waiting?”
“Oh, an hour or so.” Oh my God, she’s been out in this cold for that long? I at once, spun into action.
“Were you at the doctor’s?” I knew she had to have been, but again, was moving slowly,
afraid to offend.
“Yes,” she said, so I put her gloves back on that were hanging from her old leather handbag before entering the office. When I told the staff she was still there, they flipped, running out without coats to get her, she stoically refusing their help.
“They’ll come. Access-A-Ride always comes,” a bus service for those with disabilities.
I then got out my best Joan of Arc and said, “Ma’am, please wait inside and I’ll stay till they come so they know you’re still here.” After hesitating, she finally agreed.
In the interim, the office called and they were indeed on their way. When the little mini coach pulled up, a young Latino man hopped out with the grace of a deer looking around anxiously. “Where’s Mrs. Yancy? I got stuck behind an accident.”
Suddenly the office door opened and accompanied by two women, Mrs. Yancy appeared.
“There you are Hank…was getting worried about you.”
My eyes filled up as we watched him gently, his arms around her shoulders, help her to her seat.