Naomi receives a call from a mobile number I don't know.
"Is this Naomi?"
"There's a man called *** here and he's looking for you. He's pretty freaked out."
I say "I am coming down."
It turns out that *** has an intellectual disability and this is his first trip in a taxi by himself. He got a little muddled and couldn't figure out what next.
I get downstairs and the most average looking bloke you can imagine is standing there with him.
He asks if it's all OK, and can he go now.
Naomi shared this story and wrote:
Sir, I salute you. Such a very ordinary, and yet extraordinary thing to do.
To help a stranger because you see his distress, call from your own phone, wait until it is sorted, and then disappear into the crowd as if you never existed.
I would go so far as to suggest that you just made the difference between this young man deciding never to do such a terrifying thing again, and figuring that sure, it had its challenges, but it worked out. And I did it.
You may never know what you changed for him today. The intersection between confidence and isolation was quite possibly crossed successfully because of you.
... and there's a lovely postscript to this story.
Naomi sent him a text thanking him.
She got a message back from a couple from the country. They were shocked by people walking past others in the street, just not wanting to be involved. They were happy that they could help, it brought them joy. Made them feel connected in a disconnected city.
Congratulations to the stranger and my friend Naomi (who I've never met face to face); they are legends.