Mind your own business


On our way out of the concert last night, we were stopped at a red light literally just around the corner from the concert hall. Leaning against the wall was a young woman who looked unhappy. Standing in front of her was a young man, clearly upset. He was leaning in close toward the woman, pointing at her, and saying something hostile. I didn’t hear much, other than “You never” as he thrust his index finger toward her again.

I watched passively for a few moments, until the man realized that the girl was looking over his shoulder at me. He turned and huffed “Mind your own business!”. I replied “Yeah, whatever,” through the closed window of the car. At this point the light turned green, so I drove off.

The whole way home I thought about that young woman. Had I made a mistake by minding my own business? Should I have seen if there was something I could have done to help her out?

I was reminded of a similar incident years back, when I was in college. Walking home from class one afternoon, I approached my apartment. A couple meters down the street, a woman on the sidewalk was engaged in an argument with a man in a white convertible car. The top was down, because it was a very pleasant afternoon. She was screaming at him. I don’t remember what he was doing: he might have been laughing. The man grabbed a large bag – or perhaps a small suitcase – from the car and threw it onto the sidewalk next to the woman.

The woman screamed “Somebody help me!” as I opened my front door and entered my apartment. I didn’t help her because it didn’t appear as though she were being hurt. It looked to me like she was being kicked out, either of a relationship, a home, or both. I should have gone to her, and offered her some help.

The next time I see someone in need of help, I must stop minding my own business and see if there’s anything I can do.

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