I try to walk at least five miles a day and I have a device clipped to my shirt that encourages me to do so, recording every step and hundredth of a mile (20 steps). Some days lately walking this distance is about all I manage to accomplish, but, I’ll take my accomplishments where I can and as my father always said of such things “it’s better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick.”
Walking in the Bronx last night, looking for a new route around the part of my usual path that takes me under ear shattering elevated trains, I walked down a street I’d never been on. This empty street, a block or two long, is named Adrian Avenue. As I reached the end of it I heard cries for help coming out of a window over my shoulder.
Two women were piteously calling from a window in an alley, their necks thrust out into the night. “Please help us, we’re locked in!” the younger of them cried as I turned to face them.
I took out my cell phone. “Who can I call for you?” was my first idea.
“No,” said the desperate woman, “come into the lobby and let us out!”
It was after 10 pm, the unfamiliar street was empty and quiet. Two helpless women lure unknown man into lobby where accomplices wait to rob and beat him, I thought, tabloid style. “How will I get into the lobby?” I asked the women.
“We’ll buzz you in,” the younger one said.
“And how will I be able to get you out if the door is locked?” I asked.
“We’ll throw the key out,” said the woman.
“What apartment are you in?” I said. She gave me a number on the first floor. They buzzed me into the small apartment building. I saw their door and noticed there was no door knob on it. I heard them inside. There was no sign of anyone waiting with a blackjack.
Within a moment or two the key slid out under the door. I turned the key and the door opened. Both women were so happy to be rescued from their predicament they were practically giggling. The older woman, in a dressing gown, beamed a grateful smile. The younger one also beamed gratefully, pumping my hand with a surprisingly strong grip and thanking me profusely. I smiled too, told them they were welcome, and went back to walking.
Less than 200 steps later I was at the end of Adrian Avenue, and looking left, realized the street did not go through in the direction I needed to go. There would never be another reason to walk down Adrian Avenue, I realized, which made the odd coincidence of being there to do a good deed a little bit cooler.