Cuppa and I had a day in town (i.e. city) today. Of course we had several shopping errands to attend to, but we also took in a movie and a later dinner, and I need to tell you about an incident that occurred at the theatre.
Entering the complex right behind us was a somewhat older couple. The lady was pushing the gentleman in his wheelchair, and the guy was pushing a good-size oxygen tank. We held the doors open for them as they navigated their way inside, and they expressed their gratitude for this very small courtesy. We went on our separate ways, or so I thought, but I immediately encountered the same couple at the entrance to The Gents. The lady looked at me somewhat pleadingly and asked if I would mind navigating the gentleman into the loo.
Actually, I was delighted, and you will soon know why.
I helped the guy get his chair, himself and his tank into the large cubicle for those who require extra space. It was during this struggle that he informed me that he had been normal up until two years ago. I'm not sure what I said to that, but I'm fairly certain that it must have been something completely inane. Before he locked himself in, however, I seemed to surprise him by declaring that I would wait to help him back out when he was done. The exercise did take him awhile, long enough that his wife came to the door the door to call after him. I stuck my head out and assured her that everything was under control and that I would assist him when he was ready.
Well, I did just that, and they were both extremely thankful. But not nearly as thankful as I.
For it must have been slightly more than two decades ago when I let a similar opportunity slip by. It occurred in yet another theatre. As is my unfortunate habit during movies, at some point I was forced to excuse myself to attend to ... er ... details. While ... er ... attending, a handicapped man entered in his wheelchair. Back then handicap access wasn't up to today's standards, and the poor guy had a mighty struggle to get himself situated into a normal-size cubicle.
What did AC do to help to his fellow man? Absolutely nothing! It wasn't so much that I was being callous as that I was caught off guard and couldn't quite seem to fathom the proper course of action. Bathrooms do tend to be somewhat private places after all. However, I have felt badly for my dithering inaction for lo these twenty-plus years.
And that's why I was almost ecstatic to be gifted with this opportunity. The universe gave me another chance to do the right thing, and this time I was up to the task. It felt a little bit redemptive to tell you the truth. No ... actually it felt a lot redemptive. In fact, I feel wonderfully blessed!
The movie? Believe it or not: Atonement.
(And although it's really got precious little to do with this post, I declare it to be a film well worth seeing.)