I’m not talking about saving a life or even offering up your seat on a bus. I’m talking about reaching out to save a fellow human from basic embarrassment. Yesterday I was going about my business in the supermarket when I spotted a woman perusing the frozen pea section. I immediately noticed she has a soggy bit of toilet paper flapping off her shoe. Yuck. Never a good look. Pea lady was oblivious to the little situation she had created, so I took it upon myself to inform her of the bog roll she had been confidently cruising around with.
Of course she was super grateful when I politely tapped her on the shoulder and pointed down to her shoe. She quickly attended to it and we carried on with our lives. I felt like a bloody hero. And why wouldn’t I? Who knows where the lady was heading with her frozen peas? Off to cook a feast for a new love? To pick up her son from school? Or embark on a 5km trek back to her home? All of these situations would have encountered other humans witnessing the toiletry mess. I saved her further humiliation. In hindsight she probably should have given me a monetary tip for my public service.
Toilet paper hitching a ride on a heel should always be bought to ones attention. There should be a universal rule that we help out fellow humans minimise embarrassment in this situation. But, should we lend a strangerly hand in the following scenarios?
Scenario One: A stranger is confidentially cruising around the video store with his or her fly down?
My thoughts are you look out for your own gender in this situation. Men give the shout out to fellow men and ladies do the same. I don’t want to see a 60 year old man walking around unaware that his fly is down, lets be honest no one does. But I don’t think it is my business to point out to him that his doodle is on display. (He would probably be wearing undies but I wanted to say doodle, say it, you can’t help but giggle).
Scenario Two: A shop assistant is chatting away helping you try on jeans and you spot something in her teeth? A bit of parsley. (Why does parsley always find the crevices so easily? I don’t even eat parsley but sometimes find it wedged between my chompers.)
I don’ think this situation falls into stranger territory. Food in the teeth should be left up to a friend or self-discovery. The only thing more embarrassing than the parsley tooth is seeing a stranger try to pry it out anxiously while you watch.
Scenario Three: The man standing next to you at 7/11 has an exposed boogie hanging from his nose. Is it in your jurisdiction to inform him?
My answer is simple. No! There is no easy way to let a complete stranger know they have a bat in the cave. Gross, this deserves public humiliation.
And there lies how far I would go for a stanger. You may not agree but if we have never met and I’m rocking around with something hanging out my nose or wedged in my teeth, I forgive you now for not informing me.
How far would you go for a stranger?