What Would You Do?
I was stopped at a red light one day, and you know how it is – you look around at other cars while you kill those two or three minutes waiting for the green. I glanced up into my rearview mirror and noticed the young woman in the car behind mine.
She was crying.
She wasn’t whimpering. She was weeping. Hard, painful crying. She looked bereft and heartbroken.
My imagination started churning. Did she break up with a boyfriend? Had someone died? Maybe she lost her job?
I had a crazy urge to get out of my car and run back to hers. I know that was impractical, unsafe and would probably make the drivers of the long line of cars behind her furious. What
would she do if I approached her? Be grateful for my concern or think I was out of line for prying?
I imagined there were TV cameras around me hidden in the trees and that John Quinones of the TV show What Would You Do? Was about to pop out at any time. Maybe they were doing a show on whether people gave a hoot about the pain of total strangers.
I’ve thought long and hard about that time. What would I have done if she’d been sitting at a bus stop and I’d walked by? Would I have stopped?
Being that my career is immersed in dealing with the pain of domestic violence and it’s spillover to the workplace, I believe I would have stopped. I picture myself saying to her, “You look so sad. If you’ll talk with me for a moment, I promise to listen without judging. Maybe just talking will help.”
I can’t guarantee if that would work. But I hate to imagine never trying, and always wondering if I could’ve helped. Some day, if they haven’t done it already, there will be an episode of What Would You Do? that watches to see if folks would reach out to a total stranger in emotional pain.
Cameras in the trees or not – what would you do?