What Should I Do?

What would you do?


I thought he was shielding his eyes when he emerged from the building.

It was a bright, sunny, warm day and so I thought he was adjusting his sight from the dimmer inside of the building, especially since he just stood outside the doorway for a minute or so.

But when he dropped his hand, I could see he was crying, tears coursing down his face.

He looked to be in his mid- to late-70s, nicely dressed, with white hair, and he was crying.

He walked slowly to his car which wasn’t far from mine. He hadn’t seen me, and when he got to it, he leaned his arms against the passenger side, lowered his head and sobbed. A sound like pain.

What should I do?

Ignore him? Look away?

What would you do?

I opened my car door, stepped out and walked towards him. He seemed unaware. I stepped close and asked if he was alright.

He glanced up, still crying, and said he’d just had to put his dog down in a vet’s office inside that building.

He wasn’t looking at me. He was crying hard. He said, “I lost my wife last year…and I just…wasn’t…ready…for this…”

It was heartbreaking, really.

I touched the back of his shoulder, and he turned and simply hugged me, held on to me as if he would collapse if he let go.

So I ask again, what should I have done?

What would you have done?

And what do you think your listeners would say if you shared this story with them?

I’ll have some thoughts on that tomorrow.