Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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A GOOD DEED – NO GUILTY BYSTANDER HERE

May 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Social Commentary

Good Deeds are just nice. Don’t just be an innocent bystander when you see someone in need or trouble.

Then again, have you ever heard of a guilty bystander? Like in Seinfeld?

I’m standing here in the subway station at Jay Street MetroTech having missed my stop as I was day dreaming. So now I’m paying the price of getting home an extra 30 minutes late as, now that I’m back where I should have been 20 minutes ago.

I’m rationalizing it though because I did do a good deed. At the Nostrand Avenue stop I had to get out and cross the street but as I was doing so, two elderly white women, clearly not from around here and in their mid to late 70’s, were asked by a beggar for 10 cents. They stopped and said sure so I, with my office on wheels watched from a close distance as the “younger” of the two rummaged through her change for exactly ten cents which perplexed the homeless woman.

After the transaction I told the pair ladies please don’t ever do that. They seemed genuinely surprised as to why I would tell them not to give charity. We walked up the stairs onto the intersection of Fulton and Nostrand. Brooklyn Heights this was not.

I explained that while their intentions were good that any thug with a mind so to do could have easily snatched the purse and disappeared into the subway. Suddenly it dawned on them what I was trying to get across. They were so sweet and moved so slow. The older of the two, in her 80’s, said “I’m from California.”. I would have guessed Rhode Island.

“Where are you going?” I asked as if it was any of my business.

“We’re going to Nostrand Avenue” the younger one said. I looked up. Yup, Nostrand. Why would these two way out of place ladies be out here, a place I didn’t feel particularly comfortable in.

“We’re going to Jefferson Place,” she continued.

“Should we take a cab?” the older one asked.

“Do you know where that is?”

“Yes it’s two blocks up and a right.”

I guess her son or grandson lived here.

“Just be careful” I said. This isn’t the greatest area. Don’t give away any more money.”

And with that I escorted them across Fulton Street and wished them well.

“Can I ask you something?” the older woman asked. “Why is there so much garbage everywhere?”

It was a particularly filthy block and the subway entrance was just next to a greasy food joint.

“It’s New York. Not all areas are like this. Just be careful.”. You remind me of my mom” I said.

She smiled and with her older companion crossed the street. For five minutes I knew them though not their names. Perhaps I had an impact on their lives. I wish them well in any event.

Now for what not to do, watch this clip from the final episode of Seinfeld.

seinfeld good sumaritan

click for Seinfeld Good Sumaritan

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