Yesterday I was walking home from the grocery store. I had just purchased the oreo ice cream cake for Andy's birthday, and I was rushing to get it into the freezer. It was around 6pm and the traffic on 16th street was nuts as always. I heard a woman yell at me from her car at the curb: "Hey can I use your cell phone?!" I did a double take and realized she really was talking to me. It was a young black woman. "My car won't start, and my cell phone gave out because I haven't payed the bill. Can I use your cell phone?" she implored me. For a second I envisioned handing her my phone and watching her take off into the very slow traffic, but I let her use the phone.
She confessed to me that she didn't have enough money for a tow truck. I really had no response to this because I knew that around 7am her car would be towed whether she had the money or not. About that time, she told she was bi-polar, and now I totally believe her. She ended up crying next to me on my couch, telling me how messed up her life was. I felt bad, but I really had no idea how to respond.
I was finally able to send her off to the metro, with her tears dry. I sat exhausted on the couch for about five minutes when Andy walked in from work. "What have you been up to?" He asked. Realizing I had been trying to help Najat for about three hours, I had a very long story to tell him.