Senior service

Mid-afternoon I was walking from one work building to another when I came upon an elderly woman behind a walker, stopped at the top of an escalator.  She was looking forlornly down the steep, narrow, speedy moving staircase; and while I didn’t really want to get involved, part of me felt that I probably ‘should’.  So I gently approached the woman, and calmly said, “Hi there – can I help you?”

The frail, unsteady lady looked at me, and instantly brightened.  She explained, “I’d really like to get down that escalator; but I can’t do it with this,” she indicated her walker.  She continued, “I think I could get myself down there okay – but I can’t handle my cart, too.”  She gazed back down the escalator, looking deflated.

Though I’m no longer in my twenties, I am still an able-bodied woman.  I looked at the lady, and offered, “If you can get yourself down the escalator, I can get your walker.  Shall we give it a go?”

I could tell that was exactly the response the woman was hoping for; she quickly showed me how to use the brakes on her device, and offered to show me how to fold it up to make it more manageable.  I kindly smiled at her, said, “That’s okay, I think I have it,” and started to push the walker onto the escalator.

Ha, famous last words.  I didn’t fully ‘have’ anything.  As I wrote at the beginning of this post, the escalator we were attempting to navigate is particularly steep, narrow, and speedy:


(narrow) (Yes, that is my foot – and so you can see that the escalator is literally about two ‘feet’ wide.)

As I moved the walker onto the top step, one of the back wheels got caught – and I found my balance being significantly tested as I struggled to keep the walker, my work documents, and my body all upright and moving at the same speed, in the same direction (in a dress).  Push came to shove, and my portfolio and papers went flying – but they eventually landed at the bottom of the escalator.  (Thank you gravity.)  Suddenly and unexpectedly having one hand now free, I quickly righted the walker, and in the next second the supportive aid and I were safely on the escalator, where after a few seconds we joined my paperwork two stories down.

Seeing what must have been some sight, the woman nervously called out after me, “Ooohhh, be careful!”, then cautiously-but-successfully stepped onto the moving staircase – and moments later joined me, my papers, and her walker on the ground floor.

After I had put the woman’s device in front of her (and made sure the brakes were released), she smiled at me and thanked me for my help.  I smiled in return – and thanked her for giving me a small-but-fun adventure today.  🙂


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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16 Responses to Senior service

  1. Joceline says:

    and you smiled. good for you.


    • Stef says:

      Totally. Every time I do something klutzy (which is quite often), I just shake my head at myself, shrug my shoulders, and laugh. It’s much more fun than some alternatives… 😉


  2. rutheh says:

    Good story. I don’t enjoy getting onto escalators myself.
    That was so nice of you to be called to her aid.


    • Stef says:

      I thought about my mom, and how if my mom were in need of help, I would hope that someone would be kind enough to take a few minutes and assist her. This woman could be someone’s mom… And even if she’s not a mom, she is certainly someone’s daughter; and so, she ‘deserves’ to be helped. (Just like us all.)


  3. Kim says:

    She probably would have cracked up if you had taken a tumble 😉


  4. Dodie says:

    Knowing that it all turned out okay, I was free to chuckle at the image the story created in my imagination and I did chuckle.


    • Stef says:

      Absolutely! Laughing is totally encouraged. Had it turned out badly (for anyone involved), I wouldn’t have posted it – because then it wouldn’t have been a smile. 😉


  5. Touch2Touch says:

    That woman could have been me! No walker, but escalators — especially like the one you picture, steep and narrow — freeze my acrophobic blood. And what happened to you would have been my worst nightmare! Besides being incredibly thoughtful, you are incredibly brave —
    Thank goodness you were okay. Being able to laugh is way OTT!


    • Stef says:

      I kind of ‘forced’ myself to be thoughtful, but am glad that the better part of me did come forward.

      As for being brave, not really. A little stupid, perhaps…. (I should have helped her onto the elevator instead!) 😉 But yes, it all came out fine in the end. Even the papers were relatively unharmed. 🙂


  6. That was very sweet of you to help that lady, if it had been my mom or grandma in this situation, I would have hoped there was someone like you around to help. 🙂
    I am also glad that the only thing that fell down the escalator were just your papers!


  7. What a delightful post Stef! As your blog address suggests, I could not help but smile. It was kind of you to help her. I have been that lady at the top just waiting for a kind soul such as yourself. I hope you realize she probably went home and told her family and friends that “such a kind lady did the nicest thing for me today”. Your random act of kindness lit up her world I have no doubt. Coming from the lady usually at the top of the escalator waiting: Thank you for being so kind and selflessly helping others.


  8. pix & kardz says:

    thanks for sharing this heartwarming (and ribtickling) story! i found your link posted on another blog…. very kind of you.


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