Opening Doors


The doorbell rings. I glance at the clock as I struggle into my housecoat. Almost 4 a.m. What on Earth?

I stumble down the stairs and peer out the front window. “Tio! What are you doing out there?” She wags her tail in response. I fumble with the lock and open the front door.

A man stands there, holding the dog with a piece of rope that’s tied around its neck. “That’s not Tio,” I mutter to myself.

“Could you help me, please?” The man says. I’m here from New York visiting my friend. We had a bit too much to drink. He more than me. He’s out there.” The man waves to the brush and trees that line the riverbank across the street. “He’s pretty sick. Could you call us a cab?”

“Sure,” I say. I get the phone and come back to the front door. I call the cab.

“Thank you ma’am,” he says. He and the dog cross the street to fetch the friend.

I close and lock the door and stumble back up the stairs. To be sure, I check the dog’s bed first. Yes, Tio is there sound asleep. My husband snores.

I glance at the clock. 4:05 a.m. Oh my God! What did I just do? Opened the door to a stranger in the middle of the night, that’s what. But, honestly, I thought it was Tio out there on the porch. Perhaps I won’t tell anyone about this, but I chuckle as I picture the man telling his friends back in New York about the helpful Canadians in Edmonton.


11 comments on “Opening Doors

  1. That was certainly nice of you, but please be careful! You are a much better Samaritan than I would be at 4 in the morning. Did you tell your husband the next day, and if you did, what did he say?

  2. I’m sure we’ve all done things like that, things that turned out fine but in hindsight were pretty risky. The good Samaritan in us clicks in, along with some kind of common sense, a ‘sense’ at least that it is OK to help. I remember once letting a man, long hair, hippy type, into the house to use the phone, no cells in those days, and me at home with two babies 6 months and two years, so it must have been 1974. It wasn’t until after he left that I realized how risky that was. Yes, I told my husband that evening, a long haired hippy himself, and he said he likely would have done the same. We agreed that we needed to balance our wish to help others with protecting ourselves and that we didn’t want to live in a world where we can’t help strangers, therefore the risk was worth it. I will admit I worried about what I’d done for days after and here I am remembering it almost 40 years later. But I’m still glad I did it as that young man had parents and sisters and people who cared about him too.

    • It’s a tough balance, isn’t it? I think it was easier back then, when life seemed simpler. Weather it really was or not is questionable, but now we hear so many horror stories on the news that I think we isolate ourselves more and keep the doors closed and locked–figuratively too.

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