When I first moved here, I noticed something about the local culture that I thought was strange. Total strangers would come up to me in the grocery store and start telling me all about their lives. I was shocked at first, but I'm an out going person, so would talk to them anyway. Well, I have lived her for 11 years, and I think it has had it's effect on me because now I am the same way. I don't necessarily tell people my life story, but I do talk to strangers standing behind me in line, or in the aisle of the grocery store. I also tend to reach out to help total strangers. I think this is in my personality, but I also think it is a natural instinct of women.
Recently, when we were traveling in Taiwan, my husband and I had a little disagreement about my wanting to reach out to strangers. We were boarding a train that had a high step that we had to climb up to get in to the train. There was a handle to hold on to that helped us get up, but we still had to climb up a step that was about a foot high. We put our luggage up first and then climbed up without too much problem. After we got situated in the car, I noticed an older man attempting to board the train. He was having great difficulty stepping up that high. He had his hand on the handle, but looked like someone who can't get out of a deep chair. He was rocking trying to get some momentum, but just couldn't seem to get himself up. I turned to my husband and said, "We need to help him". My husband was embarassed that I would just walk up to a total stranger and offer a hand. He said, "Don't worry about him, he doesn't want your help. " I said, "He can't get up by himself, I can tell." He said, "He will be fine, dont' worry about it." I said, "Will you let me do a good deed?" He realized I was right at this point and quit nagging me about helping. I went over and reached my hand down to the man. He grabbed it willingly and between the two of us we hoisted him up. He thanked me profusely for helping him.
Why are we so hesitant to help strangers? Is it because we are unsure about how they will react? Why does that embarass us? If they reject our help, that doesn't mean it was wrong to offer. Maybe they were just too proud to accept. I think that we can do alot of good in this world if we just take the courage to do it. I know my husband thinks I'm crazy sometimes when I stop the car to go tell someone they left their car lights on, or when I stop to help someone who has dropped something. But I think the act of helping not only helps those we serve, but it helps us to become better human beings. So if I wave you down to tell you that you left your purse on top of your car, don't be afraid, just let me have that opportunity to try to learn to be a good person.