A Little Old Lady From Harlem

Her name was Hedy, and she was outside Mount Sinai hospital perched on her convenient walker seat, waiting patiently for her ride.

This seems to be a chronic issue with the elderly, being picked up from their medical appointments…having to trust eventually they’ll get home.

I saw her on my way to The Museum of the City of New York to see a photography exhibition.  An hour and half or so later, coming back, she was still there.

I approach her.

“Hi, you’re still here I see.  I went by before and saw you.”

“Yeah, waiting for my ride who seems to be a little late.”

“How late?”

“Oh, two hours about.” What impressed me was her tolerance of the whole situation that of course made me mad on her behalf.

“Do you have the number?”

“Oh yes, I called an hour ago and a woman told me they were coming.”

By way of what, Nebraska? No I didn’t say that, but was annoyed for her. Why can’t she and all her brethren be treated with more regard.  She’s earned it being on the planet this long. Turns out Hedy from Harlem, God bless her, is 92.

“Let’s call again,” I said, “and find out where this person is…okay?”

She looks at me timidly but says, “Okay.”

“I’ll talk if you want?”

“No no, I’ll talk.” Good for her…loved that she still wants to fend for herself.

“I’ll stand here for support.”

“Okay.” This seemed to please her, before politely asking again…and apparently the driver was parked a half a block away because you have to be exactly where they dropped you off if you expect to be picked up. Boy, did this irk me.  A woman  in her 9th decade, moving slowly with her walker can’t have a little wiggle room.

The two of us ambled up Fifth and sure enough there he was, a big, black guy on his phone, smoking.

He couldn’t go round the block? Easy does it Susannah, you don’t want to embarrass Hedy. If she could keep her temper in check, then so can you.

“Thanks for stopping by,” Hedy said to me. “I’d still be there daydreaming, you know how we women do?’

“Yes, indeed.”

I watched the driver who didn’t acknowledge Hedy, nor me, lower the back of the bus so she and her walker could get on, still on his phone.

“Hey,” I said to him with a big smile. “Take care of my friend here.  She’s depending on you, ya know, to make sure she gets home safely.”

My smile could have melted ice hoping it would melt his obstinate attitude.  A different approach. It was either that or tearing that phone out of his fat hands grabbing him by his shirt tails hanging out like a hobo’s.

I kept my cool, for Hedy, who by the grace of God, kept hers.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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24 Responses to A Little Old Lady From Harlem

  1. You are one cool person yourself! What marvelous self-control! But, then, you were helping the helpless out of the kindness of your heart. Its having someone else’s welfare as the focus that makes all the difference. I admire you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. micklively says:

    Getting old is a bastard. Nobody has time, once you’ve outlived your (apparent) usefulness. Good work Susannah.


  3. We all need to step in and help when we see something like that. That’s just awful. Waiting for 2 hours when you are 92 is way too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you came along to help her. I wonder how long that guy would have waited there without going to look for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ross de Marco says:

    So very observant on your part and considerate looking after that woman’s welfare . As for the driver , well , I hate laziness in people ! I see it all the time watching co -workers dodging and sidestepping their jobs to leave it for the next guy , do your eight and hit the gate attitude . But sooner or later it catches up to them . You’d think he’d have checked with his dispatcher after 15 or 20 minutes .! I think your last comment sums it up .


    I see this all of the time at work. The other thing that gets under my skin about the dreaded wait is the worry it causes. It's awful! Some elderly patients get very worked up over the entire ordeal and are afraid to "make waves". They are literally at the mercy of these noncaring fuckers and it's disgusting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alva Chinn says:

    Sad comment on people who don’t value people. One day if he is blessed to be her age, may he have an ounce of her grace. Thank you for taking the time to help another in need.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. skinnyuz2b says:

    Wow, I recall another post from you with almost the same situation. I can’t believe this is a common situation and not an isolated incident. Just shameful! This would make a good newspaper expose series. Maybe you could call or email and suggest it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good for you! I am learning, by the way, to mostly accept what happens as what needs to happen. However, that doesn’t mean to be timid and let people run over you. I stuck up for a person the other night and kept them from getting sent, wrongly, from the place we were at.
    Yeah, good for you,

    Liked by 1 person

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