The person I am going to tell you about never wants public acknowledgement of any kind so I am trying to be sensitive about how I retell this story. “Said soul” lives her life on a daily basis exemplifying what it means to emotionally put oneself into another’s shoes and showing compassion for someone else.
At Christmas time, “said person” took a train southward to visit friends over the holidays. It was approximately a ten hour trip. One of the other train passengers began to move from where she was sitting to another compartment on the train to get food when she tripped and fell. The woman was in excruciating pain (as it turns out she’d broken her ankle) so she screamed for a very long time until they reached the next stop, which was quite a distance, where the injured was met by an ambulance. The conductor had called ahead and arranged for the meet up.
While “said person” listened to the injured woman’s screams, she thought about the woman who was traveling alone and how she’d be arriving in a strange town, a strange hospital, injured, and no one was with her. “Said person” also considered that the injured would have to make arrangements to find her way back home, and possibly spend a few days in a hotel, at an expense she probably hadn’t planned on.
“Said person,” stood from her seat and voiced these thoughts to all the people sitting in the same train compartment. “Said person,” had a plastic zip lock bag which she passed to other travelers so they could contribute to the injured person’s plight. Since it was just a few days before Christmas, everyone was in the giving spirit, many donations were made. Then the funds were given to a train employee who got the money to the injured woman.
I would consider “said person,” whom I have known for a lifetime, an “old soul.” “Said person” may or may not argue that. In any case, she’s one who lives with true empathy for others. It is just who she is innately. What a different and more balanced world it would be if we all lived with even a smidge of this kind of spirit because it would set a great example for others. Giving to others, comes in many forms not just monetary -what time or talent can you give this year for the benefit of someone else?
“Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction ‘Love the neighbor as thyself.”
`George S. McGovern