Kindness Daily: The Little Lost Lady

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The Little Lost Lady December 15, 2012 – Posted by Lania
I seem to attract elderly women, well actually my husband says I will help anyone who I think is in trouble even a person looking lost in the street with a map.

I was heading home after a long day at work. I’d just started part time work after being away on maternity leave for a year, so I was tired and looking forward to getting home to my toddler and my husband. Coming down the stairs into the station, I happened upon an elderly lady at the base of the stairs. She was trying to talk to people who were all heading home. As she was speaking another language, and it was evening rush hour, no one stopped for her. I could see she was near to tears.

I approached and said "Can I help you".

She turned to me, looking rather frantic, and started speaking. Besides English, all I really know is "Do you speak French," "Do you speak German," and a few other words in both languages. She stopped speaking for a moment trying to comprehend, and then shaking her head she continued a little slower, realizing I was trying to identify her language. She kept saying what I think was her only heavily-accented English word: "home". She also kept pointing at the monitors and wringing her hands.

I finally caught a phrase which I only recognized, thanks to Hollywood movies. She was Russian. I named a few cities St Petersburg, Moscow, and she nodded looking like she was about to cry.

Indicating for her to follow me I went up to the station staff office and asked the platform attendant if they had anyone on staff who could speak the language. The station attendant checked, even put over an announcement asking for help but no one knew the language or anyone who did was too busy to come to the office.

I called my husband to let him know I’d be running a little late and tried with the railway staff to try to solve the mystery of home. As she’d come to a platform with 5 different train lines running off it, I took her to the map and started going through stations. Luckily for both of us, I started with my own line. I went through the stations slowly, came to mine and she started nodding eagerly and repeating a very mangled version of the station name. It wasn’t until I’d said the word in English and then she’d repeated it that I realized what she had been saying earlier. I tried to explain the best I could that it was my station too, with the station attendant nodding and assisting her to the train, she realized we were trying to help her and agreed to go on the next train with me.

On the train ride home she went to get up at every stop, first repeating her version of the suburb name. I would shake my head, hold up my hand and name each suburb to show her how many stops we had to go. It was only a 20 minute ride. I thought it would all be over quickly once we got to the station, but when we got off the train, it was dark. She gazed around, clearly confused and not sure where to go.

I have to admit, at this point, I about to call the police, because I was running so late. But before I did, I tried going through major street names to see if it would help like it did with the station names. She recognized the name of a major street which was a 10 minutes walk from mine. It was a street with a bus service to the city so I wondered if her confusion was from taking a bus to the city and then not being able to find the stop to return home. I pointed up to the street, named it, named cross streets and walked her home. As she got closer to her street, she got excited, recognizing the the neighborhood.

When we got to the house, she was very excited and indicated that she wanted me to come in for a drink. With some hand gestures, I tried to explain that I had to get home to my baby and indicated rocking a child. Then, I showed her the photo of my husband and child on my phone. She indicated for me to wait, let herself into her house with her keys and then came out again with a teddy bear. She spoke and mimed rocking a baby, indicating that it was for my baby, and then pointed at my phone.

I thanked her, got a great big hug, and was waved off to go home to my own family.

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