On Friday night, I was driving home when I pulled into a parking lot to get a bottle of water from my trunk. As I got out of the car, I heard a voice saying, “excuse me! I’m a new driver and I’m lost.” When I looked up, I saw the face of an older lady sitting in a car and was visibly nervous.
I walked over to her car and said “where are you trying to go?” She responded “hem-rittis.” I asked “is that a city?” She responded “hemrittis.” I was confused, so I went to my car and googled “hemrittis.” Thanks to Google’s ability to read minds, it said, “did you mean hepatitis? hemroids? emeritus?” I followed the link to emeritus and it provided me an address for a senior citizens community a few miles away. I explained the directions to her and she said “I’m scared to drive on the highway.” I figured that her destination was only 15 minutes away, so I could have quickly guided her there before continuing home. I told her “I’ll guide you there— just follow me,” and we set off to hem-rittis.
As soon as I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized that this wasn’t going to be the smooth journey that I envisioned. I drove at a slower than normal speed on the highway—55 miles an hour— and she was zooming along at a whopping 12 miles an hour. I’ll let that sink in for a second…. Geremy = 55 mph her = 12 mph. I slowed down to 2mph to allow her to catch up to me and then we both drove at a stead 20 mph pace down Route 80 on our way to hem-rittis.
About 45 minutes later, we arrived at Emeritus and I tried to ask her if this was the place that she was looking for. She drove right past my without even looking at me. I thought, “um, what just happened!?!?” I got out of my car to run after her (she was driving around 5 mph so it wouldn’t have been tough), but then she suddenly stopped the car, walked towards me and gave me a huge hug. She said “one day I hope to help you like how you helped me today!” I wished her a pleasant goodnight and then I drove home feeling happy for two reasons: 1) I helped someone who was stranded in an unfamiliar place, and 2) I could finally drive at a normal speed again!
I drove home slightly faster than usually in order to compensate for my slow limp down the highway earlier. While driving home and reflecting on the experience, I made a mental that I’ve got a friend at Emeritus…even though I don’t know her name, age, or any other information about her besides the fact that she pronounces Emeritus as hemrittis! Hopefully that’s an adequate identifier for me to use when I visit her again to say hi a few months from now!