Earlier this evening I looked out my front door and noticed an old man with a hunchback walking by with 4-5 grocery bags. The man was wobbly and not able to walk many steps in a row without pausing. His feet pointed into each other at the toes, making it more difficult to walk.
I’ve seen the man before in the neighborhood, but never trying to carry so much. He had already walked about three blocks from where he purchased the groceries and I had no idea how much farther he had to go. I knew I needed to offer some help.
When I caught up with him and asked if he’d like some help, he didn’t have to think long before saying “That’s very kind of you” as he let me take the bags from one hand. I reached to get the bags from the other hand as well, but he insisted on carrying those himself.
We walked another couple of blocks as he occasionally looked up from his normal hunchbacked stare down at his feet to see what the street address was of a nearby house. I finally asked him his house number and he told me. The full distance from the store to his house was about 5-6 blocks – a tremendous distance for this man even if he wasn’t carrying anything. I can’t imagine the tenacity of the man to take on that burden and attempt that distance with such a load.
We reached his house and I held the screen door open while he found his house key and unlocked the front door. It was apparent he wanted me to give him the groceries at the door and not come in, so that’s what I did. After thanking me again, I told him my house number and invited him to stop there anytime he’s walking by and needs something. We parted company and I went back home.
I know nothing about this man other than he is old, he has a hard time walking, and he appears to have nobody else to help him. Maybe next time I’ll get his name.
Leap year lesson #283 is Carry one another’s burdens – literally, if necessary.