Where I live in Mexico, everyone drives everywhere they go. And street traffic during rush hour is enough to make you crazy! Recently, some construction by my job ended which allows me a dream of a short cut that gets me home in 12 minutes, in time for lunch with my family! On Fridays though, I tend to give a lift home to a few of my co-workers so I do still end up facing some street traffic along this especially well-traveled avenue every Friday afternoon. This avenue is very known for their street vendors. At every intersection, as a driver, you have the option to purchase anything from fresh fruit, bottled water, toys for your children, hampers for your laundry, batteries, flowers or even chewing gum without even having to get out of your car!
This past Friday, as I was awaiting my green light, a familiar woman selling bags of oranges is approaching my car who I’ve probably seen a hundred times in the last year…though I haven’t been on this avenue in almost a month! I did remember her and was smiling at her when she saw me, she seemed to remember me also. I rolled down my window when she greeted me and asked me where I’d been. I explained that my route home is now different due to the reopening of a major thoroughfare so I have access to a great short cut which no longer required that I passed her everyday. She understood completely! I asked how business was going and how she was faring in the recent dry season under the hot sun. She showed me where she had hidden a water bottle in her back pocket. We laughed about it together. She wished me well and walked away…continuing her travels through the idling traffic awaiting their green light.
Did she really remember me? Probably not. God knows how many people she must see everyday! Did she really understand or care about my route home from work? Maybe not. But did I express my concern for her welfare? I tried. Did I help her feel human and to momentarily forget about the sweat on her brow as she struggled, as she does everyday, to support her family? I want to say I did! Will I ever see her again? Maybe next Friday…maybe never again. I smiled all the way home after leaving her smiling face. And if I did nothing else this past Friday, I’d like to think that I made this woman smile who was no more than a stranger to my life and I’d like to think that I made her feel good…even if for just a moment.