credit – ocean/corbis
“derring–do – a brave action taken without considering the danger involved”
Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt invites us to tell a story on ourselves. At least in my interpretation. Because recently I ‘rescued’ someone from a potentially dangerous situation, only to have the ‘danger’ backfire on me!
It was late at night, 11 anyway, and I was nearly home when I passed a young blond female wandering along the side of the road. She looked cold. Wearing short shorts and a light cotton shirt in the rapidly-cooling air of beyond summer. I noted her because this was an unusual sight in my part of town. And drove on because it was, as noted, late. My dog needed a walk.
We were joined by a neighbor who, like me, takes that one last stroll with her two canine companions before tucking everyone in for the night. As we turned the corner, there wandered the same young woman into our neighborhood. Asked her destination, she insisted it was right up ahead. My friend and I, through one swift shared glance, decided to accompany her to said destination. Which, I might add, was NOT at the top of the hill.
It took a few minutes of garbled conversation and interpretation to unravel the plot. In addition to slurred speech she, being new to town, mis-named Redstone (university campus) as Redrock (residential area). The clincher came when she named a house number that does not exist in our small neighborhood. That’s when I took action. As any caring parent would have done. I told her I was driving her back to campus, a distance of at least five miles. She was clearly disoriented. She kept insisting she was ‘almost there.’ I should have listened more closely.
As she closed her eyes, head resting against the back door of my car, something inside suggested I should NOT have the heat on, that keeping her from freezing was the wrong act of kindness in the moment. When I told my 21-year-old daughter the story later, I didn’t even get to this part before she declared, “She barfed all over your car, didn’t she, Mom?!”
I did stop. I did yell at her to open the door. I did regret my lack of foresight, focusing on her exposure rather than my own. It took the entire weekend to clean up my car, and weeks before I was comfortable inviting anyone for a ride. This time, it was concern for exposing them to the lingering odor that reminded me – for months – that being a good samaritan is only a wise choice if you have thought it through enough to protect yourself from the danger you might be jumping into yourself.