Today I spent the afternoon debating the meaning of life and various other topics with my brothers and then in the early evening I got on a bus back to Boston. Again I kept my eyes out for an opportunity to do something out of my way to help someone out but nothing really caught my eye as a “Hey this is it!” moment. I thought for sure I’d see someone struggling with getting their bags down the stairs at South Station but alas there was hardly anybody there and everyone seemed to be pretty able bodied and in the zone.
I was walking back to my apartment in the dark from the T stop when I came across a middle aged husband and wife standing in the dark with a huge map of Boston in front of them. My radar went off which told me that these people clearly had no idea where they were (a pretty frequent occurrence around my neighborhood). So I stopped, took out my headphones, and said, “Hey you guys look lost, do you need any help?” They both responded at the same time, the man saying “No” and the woman saying “Yes”. I had to laugh because of how classic this response was. As a fellow man I know how gut-wrenching it is to ask for help, especially for help with directions. They were looking for the Boston Common which was literally two blocks away, so I showed them which direction to walk in and sent them on their merry way. As they were leaving I felt like I should have warned them not to hang out in the park too late at night, unless in fact they were looking for drugs or an excuse to get beat up, both of which I imagine are easy to find after dark. I’m sure they were fine and had a nice romantic stroll through the park.
Sometimes in Boston I’ll stop to give people directions but typically my autopilot tells me, “Hey they’re adults, they’ll figure it out.” Indeed this couple would have figured it out without me (which is why the man said they didn’t need any help). However, I know that if I was obviously lost in an unfamiliar city, I would have definitely appreciate a local who approached me to help me out for no particular reason. It would have left me with a good impression of the city and the people who lived there. Hopefully they go home thinking Bostonians are friendly and helpful.