As tragedies go, it was not very big although it may have seemed bigger to those who were on the receiving end.
It was 3:00 on Friday afternoon just outside the main entrance to the Charlotte, Michigan Walmart.
The road was strewn with groceries: pop-tarts and burrito wraps, boxes of cereal and bottles of ice-tea.
Traffic was stacked up in both directions on Packard and there was a line of nine or ten vehicles stacked up in the drive waiting to leave Walmart. By Charlotte standards, it was an epic traffic jam.
Forty yards west on Packard was a twenty-five year old minivan with a caved in rear lift-gate. Clearly, it had been rear-ended some time in the past. Just as clearly, the lift-gate had popped open as the driver had goosed the minivan as he turned left onto Packard. The lift-gate had popped open and spewed a half-week's worth of groceries onto the pavement.
A skinny guy was walking east on Packard to retrieve his groceries.
I don't say this to brag, but here were more groceries on the pavement than one human could carry in one trip.
I turned Mrs ERJ's minivan into the Team One Chevy dealership on the north side of Packard, across the street from Walmart.
"Hey, brother, can you use a hand?" I shouted.
The traffic that had been cock-blocking him stopped when there were two of us. All of the groceries could be saved except for some vile looking, synthetic, orange ichor that was metastasizing across the blacktop. No sherbet for the kiddies tonight.
"Everybody wants to bitch. Nobody wants to help." I observed.
The man was not particularly talkative. "Dingbats want to cuss and take pictures on their flog-slobber phones." he replied. He may have used words other than "Dingbat" and "cuss" and "frog-slobber" but it gives you a sense of what he said.
Walking back to his minivan which was blocking traffic, he asked "Why did you stop and help?"
That is a question I have often considered: Why do I help?
Some of it is due to having been a Boy Scout and that "Do a good deed daily." thing.
Some of it is that we all encounter rough spots we need a little help over.
I made a little joke of it, although it truly captures how I feel. "Someday you may be in the jury box and I may be sitting at the defendant's table."
I see no downside to living my life like that.