One day in the winter first or second year of university, I was on my way to my -then-boyfriend’s house and stopped by the mall to pick up some food. As I was about to leave, a distressed woman approached me. Her hair was in a messy ponytail and her voice cracked when she asked me “What’s your background?”
I hesitated and then answered, “I’m half Chinese and half Vietnamese”
She responded, “Could you please help me? I think my husband’s been cheating on me and I want you to call this number and tell me what she says…She only speaks Chinese”.
I sat down with her and sent a text message to my -then-boyfriend telling him I was going to be late and what the situation was. He said “You should have just walked away”.
I knew little Cantonese but tried my best to call this possible mistress from my phone and hopefully ease the thoughts of the distressed woman. After a few phone calls and attempts asking, the other line started rejecting my call. I turned to the woman and apologized that I couldn’t do anymore and I wasn’t much help. She started to tear, I pulled a handful of tissues out of my purse and handed to her as she cried to me. She told me about being married for 20-something-years, they have kids together, and she doesn’t know what to do. Her oldest daughter was coming to pick her up soon, I had already missed my bus and the foods gone cold. I continued to listen to her and told her that everything will turn out okay, even though I didn’t know. She thanked me and I gave her a hug before I left…
About 6 months later on my way home, I received a call from an un-programmed number.
“Hi Elizabeth! How are you?”
“I’m fine, you?… I’m sorry but who is this”
“Oh you don’t remember me? I’m that lady from the mall a while back”
“…wow, oh my god. Hi! How are you? How is everything?”
“Everything’s great. It was a very messy situation, but my husband’s still here with me and we’re good. Long story but I found your number and wanted to call you and say thank you so much for what you did. Listen sweetie, I want you to save my number. You can call me anytime, ask me for anything anything at all I’ll be there for you okay? I really appreciate what you did”
I didn’t save her number, I don’t even remember her name…because it doesn’t matter. Don’t do good things to expect favors to be owed to you. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, and that person will appreciate it. I know if I was going through problems, I would appreciate a stranger to be there to hand me a tissue and listen to me. As bad as the world can be, try to be that one good person then. It’s easy to sin, it’s simple to be a bystander, it takes strength to be a good person.