A Driving Lesson You Won’t Forget

, , , , , | Hopeless | October 18, 2018

I’m an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome and, due to some physical difficulties caused by my medications, I’m only now starting to learn how to drive. Because of this, whenever I have to go shopping, my social worker picks me up from my apartment.

Right as she pulled up earlier today and I was walking down to meet her, I heard her talking with an elderly lady who seemed very disoriented and, from the dirt on her, likely to have fallen down.

Something about her felt off, and the fact she didn’t speak any English made it extremely difficult to communicate with her and find out what happened. After a brief conversation, which both of us were only able to understand bits and pieces of, the lady went on her way.

As I got in the car, all I could think of was that woman’s condition and how I’d been lost and confused, too, just like her. [Social Worker] and I had the same thought: we needed to make sure she was okay.

Fortunately, she was walking slow enough that catching up to her in our van didn’t pose much of a challenge, but again, the language barrier prevented her from understanding us or allowing us to help.

Then, my social worker remembered one of the few things the woman had said that she could understand was that she was from Iran and immediately, she remembered that another one of her clients had a mother who was also Iranian and likely fluent in Farsi — the only language the woman seemed to speak well — so we drove up beside her again and called the mother, who immediately agreed to talk to the woman and act as a translator.

With the mother’s help, we learned that the woman had indeed fallen and was looking for her daughter’s house. After some convincing, the woman allowed us to look in her purse for any form of ID to give an address and sure enough, we found a driver’s license reading an address only a couple miles away. The translator convinced the woman to let us drive her to her daughter’s, and we were on our way.

It took only a few minutes to get there, and I waited with the woman while [Social Worker] went to the front door. Sure enough, she soon came out with an older woman who revealed herself to be the elderly lady’s daughter. She told us her mother had likely meant to go to the nearby park, but gotten lost and somehow walked over three miles to my apartment complex. She hugged her mother and called the both of us angels, asking if [Social Worker] would consider taking her mother on as a client, since it was so nice to see two people who’d go out of their way to help an old woman.

We made small talk for a few minutes before we went on our way. The second [Social Worker] and I were back in the van, we just looked at each other and smiled.

Even now, I think about what could have happened if she hadn’t pulled up at that exact moment or someone else had gotten to her…. and I just think simply…

“I may have saved a life.”

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