One day, I went for a walk past the governor's mansion and up Goldbelt Avenue. It was a beautiful sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky. The sidewalks were a little frosty and I was wearing running shoes. Yes, one of those ladies in slacks and running shoes.
Goldbelt Avenue is one of the few streets that closes in the winter because it is so steep, winding and well, there's other street access for the homeowners.Can you guess where this is going?
After I passed the first "road closed" gate I hit a sheet of ice and my running shoes gave me no traction; I wished I'd worn my hiking shoes to work instead. I very carefully picked my way from pine cone to pine cone and then dropped one hand to the ground to stretch to the next. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted an older gentleman headed down the hill and from my crouched position I greeted him with, "oof, it's a little icy". He stopped his descent. Watched me. Said, "You're almost through the worst of it". And then, when I started moving up the rest of the hill like a normal person. He turned, walked up the steps and into his house.
What could have been an embarrassing situation wasn't. I'm still not sure why. I thought he was going to walk down the hill and hit the same treacherous ice that I was negotiating with and I wanted to warn him. He could see that I was struggling, offered encouragement and stayed there to make sure I was okay. I was looking out for him. He was looking out for me.
There is a moral to this story and it is: when someone is having a hard time and they look up to you and warn you, don't get upset. Help them, encourage them, make sure that they get off that sheet of ice and safely on their way. And if you can do it without embarrassing them, so much the better.