This afternoon I was sitting at my desk and had the urge to have a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae. So I got up and walked over to the McDonald’s here on campus and got one. Simple enough…or not…
On my way back to my office, I noticed a woman who looked lost. I didn’t hear her right away, but she had that look that said “help me” as she addressed people she walked by and they would shrug and walk on. I finally heard one girl say, “I don’t work here.” So I walked up to her and asked her if I could help her find something. Helping lost people here on campus is the norm, as it seems every visitor gets lost at least once. We are our own little city, including suburbs. So she handed me a piece of paper with a building name and said something to the effect of “can’t find” in a thick accent. I think it was Albanian or Romanian (I knew a woman from Albania with a similar accent). So I told her it would be easier for me to walk her to the building she was looking. She was happy.
When we got to the building she told me in her best English that yes, this was where she was, but now she couldn’t find her car. I asked her where she parked. She did not know. Given that our campus stretches for a couple miles in each direction, I wasn’t sure what to do with that information. Then she mentioned 21st Avenue. Great! I could walk her there. She was happy.
We got to 21st Avenue and she said, “Yes, I was here,” but this is not where her car was. So we walked around some more until we had completed a large circle. Still no car. It’s late October and today is a record breaking heat day. We have been walking around for 30 minutes, and I am starting to sweat. The uneaten sundae I am holding is turning into mush in my hand. So I suggested that she come back to my office with me and we would get a map and find her car. She was happy.
I got to my office and immediately called for reinforcements…my boss. We laid out a map and determined the approximate area where she could have parked her car based on her descriptions. I would show her to the area and hopefully find her car. She was happy.
We walked to the area that we determined from the map may be where she parked her car. Not the right area. She wanted to wander on. Not a good idea, so I convinced her to make a loop around another block. As we came back around she mentioned how the street looked familiar. I followed her as she wandered aimlessly down the street, walking out into traffic and almost getting hit. Then there it was. Her car – with a parking ticket on the windsheild. She was happy.
An hour after I purchased my sundae, I finally got back to my desk to eat it. It had turned into more of a watery, chocolate milkshake, but finally I was happy.