As I pulled into the spot, I was focused on getting the things on my list and getting out in record time. "In and Out, nothing that's not on the list" I reminded myself. Then, I noticed there was an older lady standing in the spot in front of me, clinging onto her cart and looking lost. As I gathered my things, I wondered what she was doing there, waiting for someone, looking for her car, debating on whether or not to return to the store for a forgotten item?
As I exited the car, I decided I would ask what was going on. I approached the older lady, and as soon as her eyes met mine, the worry in them sent a shiver down my spine. "Have you lost your car?" I asked "No, my husband went to pull the car up for me almost 20 minutes ago and I haven't seen him. I don't know where he parked. I'm worried." With that, I asked some details on the car and found out that it was either a green Chevy or Ford, and that his name was Dominic. "You know how husband's are, sometimes they forget where they park and won't admit it, I'm sure everything is fine" I reassured her. I didn't have that feeling though, I had a sick, sinking feeling in my stomach and headed out huge air cast boot and all to find her wayward husband.
I headed out across the giant parking lot. My air cast boot felt like it weighed 400lbs as I put it in front of the other one step at a time. The baby in my belly flipped and flopped in what I can only explain as a reaction to the adrenaline that was coursing through my body. I figured that at least if something had happened I had a cell phone in my pocket and the benefit of 8 years of paramedic training behind me. I looked up and down, aisle upon aisle not finding any green cars. In the 4th or 5th aisle a 40-ish year old woman pulled up and rolled down her window "Did that old lady lose her car?" she asked. "No, she is looking for her husband that was supposed to have pulled up the car nearly 30 minutes ago." I replied. With that she said "Well, why don't you tell that cart guy over there and forget about it" and sped off. I continued to look.
After searching up and down every aisle, I headed back toward the lady. As I grew closer I noticed she was no longer standing with her cart, but with a cane, and looking much less concerned than she had earlier. I was relieved. As I approached them, I met Dominic, he was a wonderfully cheerful man, and explained that he had forgotten where he had parked the car, and then after wandering the lot himself had remembered he parked near the garden center (about 400 yards from where his wife was waiting) to put "the damn plant in the car". We laughed together, as I admitted that I have also forgotten where I've parked my car on occasion, and that I was glad they were reunited. I helped load the remainder of the groceries into the car and said I would take their cart with me to shop with. Dominic thanked me again, shook my hand, and told me that they are both 91 years old. "Congratulations, that's quite an accomplishment, I'm 29" I said, and wished them a good rest of the day.
I was glad to be able to help, and the throbbing in my leg that night didn't bother me nearly as much as it would have on any other day. It was well worth the pain to know that I helped out another person. I hope that I have at least instilled some hope in the older generation, so that they know we are not all self-serving brats.
I live by the principle my Grandmother taught me, "Always help when you can, even if you don't think you have the time". It was well worth my time, I spent almost 25 minutes looking, and helping to load groceries, but it was well worth my time to see the relief on Dominic's wife's face when they were reunited. What have you done lately?