Thursday, April 30, 2009

believe it or not, i'm falling down stairs...

My dear friend KG is often the wind beneath my wings and I love her very much, ever since having practically lived in her house throughout high school. Her father died very unexpectedly on Sunday and tonight, as I drove home from the rosary service, an old song came on the radio that we used to listen to, driving around San Francisco for hours because we had nothing to do. 
I was reminded of a story about KG I hadn't yet told you people and perhaps now is the time, so as to distract my beloved friend from this rough, rough time. 
One summer, I came back from college and KG and I went shopping at Westfield Shopping Center, back when it was just the Nordstrom downtown. We'd grabbed lunch downstairs in the food court and went to the escalators to shop upstairs. Looking up ahead, an elderly woman suddenly fell on the escalator, her head heading down and her feet pointing up. She fell in a way that left her stuck where she was as the stairs moved underneath her. Quick thinking women we were, KG pointed to a little glass box on the side of the escalator, which I lifted, pushing the red "STOP" button underneath. 
The escalator stopped, the woman managed to right herself and we were heros, right?
Wrong. 
As KG and I waited for congratulatory high fives and the Oprah show to come calling a security guard raced over. We remained at the bottom of the escalator and the woman WHOSE LIFE WE SAVED had made it to the top. 
"What you do?" He screamed at us. 
Here it comes, the medals, the commendations, the key to the city. 
"We pushed the stop button." I proudly replied. 
"Why you do that?" He was angry and accusatory and quite frankly, a little proud of himself. 
"That woman fell!" KG responded. 
And then began an Abbot and Costello-esque series of questioning wherein it became perfectly clear Colombo thought we'd pushed the Stop button for kicks, causing Miss Daisy to fall. This continued on and on, this guy unable to understand and/or accept that we'd saved the day. With each question, we grew angrier and he grew more convinced he's captured America's Most Wanted. We finally pushed our way to the top of the escalator where the old lady stood, still rattled from her fall and being comforted by onlookers. The whole event had drawn a crowd, some of whom began coming to our defense. 
Still, the mall cop remained unconvinced. He wouldn't let us go and at this point, we didn't want to anyway. If this guy wanted a fight, he was going to get it. 
Finally the old lady got her bearings enough to address us. "My angels! My wonderful angels!"
Our gloating eyes turned to the security guard, our brows raised in victory. The old woman clung to our arms, repeating, "Thank you! My angels!"
Begrudgingly, we were allowed to leave, summer ended and we went back to our respective colleges, KG's in Orange County and mine in Philadelphia. 
Then one day, I got a call from a woman who took forever to explain why she was calling. On and on she went about some law firm when finally, I realize what she was trying to tell me. 
"Am I being sued?"
"Well...no."
I then had to explain all over again this ridiculous incident in a goddamn mall where the quick-thinking actions of two relatively upstanding citizens averted public tragedy. 
"But the file here says 2 young women caused Mrs. SomethingRussian to fall."
"I assure you, we saved her life. Or her hair."
"But the file..."
Again, in slow motion, I recapped the event. 
"So she'd already fallen?"
"Yes!"
"And you stopped the escalator so she could recover herself?"
"Exactly."
"Well, (she paused as the pieces began to fit together) You're heros!"
A day late and a dollar short lady. Where's our key to the city...

2 comments:

Karyn said...

OMG! I am so sorry about Kate's father. I know he was family to you... and unexpected is even worse. I'm so sorry.

Clair said...

So very, very sorry for your friend's loss. I've recently been there myself, and it sucks.