It was half past ten when the escalator brought me down to the Central Subway Station. Despite the fact that rush hour was over the place was full. At the bottom of the stairs there was a man waving a piece of paper about. Everybody was in a rush, nobody took notice.
I stopped, beckoned him to follow me and we walked to the platform together. I discovered that we were headed in the same direction. He was with his wife, two daughters and a son. They weren’t used to moving walkways and his wife almost fell over. When I realised that only Sabri, their 10 year old son, spoke Swedish I decided to accompany them to their destination.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought: when we got off the subway at the terminus there were other pieces of paper. The first had had the name of the terminus; now he pulled out another piece of paper with the address of the Immigration Council, it was five stations earlier. We got back on the subway and when we arrived at the stop I asked if they could pay for a bus. Another piece of paper: a letter and an electronic bus ticket- no money. The letter showed that their aim was not to get to the immigration service but to a lawyer’s office in another part of the city.
I was already half an hour late for my meeting. I called the law firm and we decided together that it was best that the family take a taxi. They asked if I could loan them the money because the law firm would surely reimburse me. The taxi was too small to bring us all and so I said goodbye. Five grateful people greeted me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reactions of my friends on telling them the story: “You even paid the taxi…” Of course it wasn’t easy for me to take the whole trip with them, I missed most of the lecture I was headed for and I’m not sure I’ll ever see the money again. But would I not have been happy to be helped in a similar situation? The joy that I felt afterwards and every time I speak about the experience is just an extra bonus.
Patrick – Sweden