Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Helping while feeling helpless

Today, I went to Fairborn, Ohio to pick up a few Korean items such as the soup/spice base for ji gae.  I took the opportunity to eat at Cassano's Pizza, which is only blocks away from most of the Korean grocery stores.

While I was there, I noticed that the kind, hard-working woman who has always waited on me was wearing an arm sling and her face was bruised.  I didn't ask too much, fearing that this was some sort of domestic violence or an incident at work with a robbery.  I worked at another Cassano's location and you become accustomed in restaurants that unusual things happen.

Later, she was talking to another employee and she mentioned that she couldn't take time off because her electric bill was due and she didn't know how she would pay it.  After I finished my pizza, I bought a couple bags of Snyder of Berlin Salt & Vinegar potato chips.  As she gave me my change, I pulled out $30 to give to her.

I said "I know it's probably not enough to pay your bill, but hopefully, you'll get there much more quickly."  Since I only had about $6 more, I thought that I'd better keep some spare, in case I needed it.  After all, I was about 50 miltes/80 km from home and my car hasn't been the most reliable lately.

I had such a feeling of helplessness, hearing her troubles, seeing her injuries.  I wanted to solve her problems but could not.  We're each responsible for our own condition, are we not?  As I talked to her about the money and my hopes that she would find it useful, I cried.  It's a bit silly that I should cry more than she did.  It's so easy to fall from a good position, but some people are always struggling.  "It's their lot in life." I've heard and certainly, some people can help themselves more than others.  I'm lucky that my mind has worked rather well.  Even through my parents' illnesses, my mind kept working on solutions for them, but in the end, it was for naught.

Now, I can only help the living, although I will always feel a bit helpless.

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