We’ve all been warned about stranger danger. Usually, I “follow the rules” and keep to myself on city streets. Walk briskly, with purpose. That’s what I was taught.
After a day of learning at Teachers College, I was returning to my hotel. I got off the 1 train at 59th Street and came up at Columbus Circle. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and today was the parade. When I came up from the subway, I was amazed at the traffic of cars, buses, taxis, bicycles, and people. I saw lots of green hats, shirts, beads, and heard talk of celebrations to come.
For some reason, maybe influenced by more generosity toward humanity, I ignored stranger danger for a few minutes. I stopped today when a young man said, “Excuse ma’am. Could I ask you two questions?” He showed me a badge and said he was doing a project/study and was asking people to gather data.
His question interested me. “What are two things you can’t live without?” He seemed surprised when I answered, “My family.” He commented that most people say, “My cell phone.” I felt an inner conflict about whether to listen or whether to walk away. Had I been an easy “mark?” Should I have more trust in someone trying to do good?
I knew the conversation was going to end with a plea for a donation, but as he told me about the non-profit he worked for, I became interested in their work. But still I questioned if it was legitimate. I hadn’t heard of the organization, so I came home and googled it. He had represented them well. I actually think I might donate. The world’s children need so much.