Friday, March 7, 2008

No Country for Old Anybody

I was driving from Woodbridge to New Brunswick just yesterday, staying off any highway, and passing through the town of Highland Park where my good friend Meryl Frank is the Mayor. I was on my way to take a required class at the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

As I was passing through Highland Park, I was caught in traffic on Route 27, the road going over the bridge toward New Brunswick. The car in front of me was stopped by a very old woman who appeared to me to be asking for a ride. I could see [but not hear] that the young driver was shaking his head, and giving some excuse to the old woman. The old woman returned to the sidewalk.

Thinking of my own family and my own grandparents, I decided to pull over and see if I could be of any help. I rolled down the window, and the woman approached the car. She said she had been waiting for a bus for quite a while, and needed to get home back to River Road. I told her to get in, and that I would take her there, since I was driving in that direction anyway.

She told me that she had been waiting for the bus for about 30 minutes, there was no bench at the bus stop, and she was too tired to stand any longer. She was from Germany, she shared, and had arrived in America 48 years ago. She spoke in a thick German accent. One thought that ran through my mind was the six degrees of separation---was she related or knew some one from Germany many years ago who had anything at all to do with any of my relatives in Poland who died in the Holocaust? A strange thought, I know. But I had it anyway.

She shared with me that she sometimes took the bus, sometimes had to pay for a cab [expensive, though] and sometimes got her daughter to drive her. I told her that when she reached my age, she could help a younger person like herself, too. She laughed, and said I had a good sense of humor

I dropped her off on River Road, and she kissed my hand and said thank you. I watched her walk slowly up the street to who knows where. I probably will never see that woman again, but I was glad to give her a ride.

I was curious about the local bus schedule in Highland Park, so I went to their website. No information on a bus schedule at all. I called the office of the Borough Clerk, and was told that she had no information on a bus schedule either; that she knew nothing about a local bus schedule in Highland Park at all. So maybe there are no local busses in town, and I got scammed.

Point is, if you see someone that needs help, give it to them. I list here, once again, as we move in to the spring, How to Build Community and How to Build a Global Community.


linda said...

Well done, Joe.

Local transportation is poor in NJ. Cars, cars, cars. But not enough money for buses or trains.

I don't think you were scammed. I think there are NJ Transit buses in the area.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your heartwarming story. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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