Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Tough to be a good citizen

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM

It says much about a society when you're terrified of your own shadow.

One early morning I'm driving to work when I get to a little stretch along Shortwood Road. There I see what appears to be a woman (you can't be too sure these days) walking in the same direction I'm driving. What strikes me at first is that she's using the road, not the sidewalk, so I'm already annoyed. Second, she doesn't seem to notice my lights approaching, aka she's not getting out of the way, so I have to drive around her. Strike two. And then, quite unexpectedly, as I'm passing, she turns around and yells "Driver'' while sticking out her hand.

Now in the microseconds that I had to make up my mind as to what I was going to do, it felt like a million things ran through my head. First instinct was that at minutes to 6 a.m., the sun was nowhere near ready to come out, and the road not endowed with the greatest artificial light, I had no intention of finding out what was wrong. In second place (a distant second) was the thought that maybe this woman was actually in trouble.

As a rule, I don't take hitchhikers. Helped out a mother and child one morning about 9 a.m. Bright day, no bushes for any gunman to jump out at me. But this scenario was completely different.

Like I said, there was very little time to make up my mind and as yuh squint, she was waay behind in the rear-view mirror. I have no idea whatsoever as to what happened to the pedestrian. I feel somewhat hopeful that she was okay because I passed some people at a bus stop further down. So, hopefully, they were able to assist, assuming she needed help. Mind you, I didn't see anyone chasing her, and she wasn't exactly running. So who knows what was really going on. I just know I had no intention of finding out.

And that kind of bothers me. If this woman was truly in need, then it means I failed her. The Good Samaritan story comes to mind. I've heard numerous stories of people helping out and doing good. I've also heard stories about wannabe Samaritans ending up in the very ditches from which they were helping 'damsels in distress'. Quite frankly, I ain't going out like that. I also wondered, if she only needed a ride to a certain point, how dangerous is it to ask motorists who are complete strangers? There may be some serial killers behind those steering wheels, you know.

There are a million ways to be a good citizen without putting your life in danger. But apparently there are times when you have to. Yours truly, won't be exploring them unless absolutely necessary. It sounds bad, but mi a hold my head straight. God go wid dem!

Tell me what you would have done at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com