Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who Do You Believe

I had a strange, dare I say, moral dilemma sprout up today. Around 4 p.m. Jeff decided he wanted mashed potatoes with supper. Being Irish and a big fan of the potato I wasn't about to deny him the luxury of mashed potatoes. So off I went to the grocery store a few blocks away. And of course because I was lazy and it was cold, I took the vehicle. A Toyota Sienna if you must know.

As I was driving down the main street leading to the local Independent a tall thin woman with no winter coat was on the right side of the road waving her arms. Her lips clearly mouthed "Help Me". Now you might be thinking this is the dilemma, to stop or not to stop, but it was not. I spun around and stopped, no problem.

I figured she had car trouble and the old guy in the van who was leaving either didn't have a clue or he was harassing her. As I walked up to her I noticed another man sitting in the car I thought was hers. Here is where it gets strange.

The woman thanked me for stopping and introduced herself. I gave her my first name. She put out her hand but for some reason I didn't. I still don't know why. Maybe it was her fluorescent green contact lenses. Anyway, she proceeded to tell me she was crossing the street to go for supper when this guy, she motions to large man in car shaking his head, slows down and opens his window.

She thought he had car trouble and asked as such. He thought she was hitchhiking and called her a bunch of names when she said she wasn't. Actually, she said something like, "Do I look like I'm hitchhiking? I don't have my thumb out". Anyway, she said he called her cops on her and she wanted someone there for support. I asked her why she didn't just go in the local Tim Horton's and wait (no winter coat) but she said it was her word against his and she wanted someone on her side. I explained to her I could stay with her but I didn't see anything and would say as such. She offered to by me a coffee, I declined.

After a few minutes of waiting (and listening to her repeat her story and talk about the guy's body language as she was talking), I asked her if she was sure he called the cops. I then went over to talk to him. His story: She was hitchhiking and he pulled over. They exchanged words and she refused to move from the front of his car so he called the police. I asked him if he was sure he called the police and when he expected them. Three cruisers then showed up.

All three of us explained our situations to different officers and I, of course, was sent on my way as I didn't witness anything.

So where the hell is the dilemma you ask. Well, who would you believe? My first instinct was to believe this woman. Women, after all have been in situations of not being believed and supported for centuries. I felt I should believe her out of principle. But something about the situation led me to think she might have been hitchhiking or otherwise not truthful. And these thoughts made me feel guilty for not believing her.

So who do you believe? Or how do you remain impartial? This is the moral dilemma I thought about while getting potatoes and driving home. What if I was in that position and the woman I asked for support was looking at me like I was out looking for trouble, if there really is such a thing.

Jeff was supportive of the incident when I told him. "You did what you could do. You stayed and supported her until the police came." He thinks she might be one of the locals residing in a group home in the area. These people have been harassed and taken advantage of too. So, what do you do when you come upon a situation like this?