Yesterday my co-worker and I were standing on the busy street corner near our office. We were waiting for the light to change and gabbing about the office. There was a thin woman with a scarf tied around her head standing there as well.
“Excuse me,” she said quietly. “Do you know where this is,” she said and showed me a small map. “It’s on Murphy Avenue.”
Fortunately for this woman, she had just asked “She Who Knows Everything” (also known as me) for directions.
“Oh,” I confidently answered. “You mean Murphy Road.”
“I guess so,” the woman said. “I’m supposed to go to the Allen Clinic.”
“Well Murphy Road is that way,” I pointed. “It’s too far to walk, it’s at least a mile.”
She sighed. “Ok, thank you.” And she started walking up the hill to her destination.
This woman was obviously ill and obviously without transportation.
As my friend and I crossed the street, I said that I wished that we could get the woman a taxi and just pay for it to take her to the clinic. My friend agreed and then said “Oh my God, look right there!”
Sure enough there was a taxi at the light we waved it over and as the cab did a u-turn my friend ran up the street to stop the woman. I gave the driver a $20 and we got the woman in the cab and went on our way.
Later in the afternoon I got to thinking. I googled Allen Clinic on Murphy Road. Up it popped. On Murphy AVENUE…not two blocks from where we originally encountered her. It’s an imaging center specializing in the brain.
Crap. I (She Who Knows Everything) had sent this poor brain-sick woman a mile out of her way. I could only hope that the cab driver looked more closely at her little map than I did and delivered her to the right destination.
I told my friend about my mistake and we were both chagrined that our attempt at being good Samaritans might’ve flopped. Thinking that I sent that woman on a wild goose chase is sickening. So here’s hoping for a compassionate cabbie.
What do you think? Are we on the plus side of the karma equation or the negative?