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Doing Good
by Martin Lindauer

Going to work is not something I look forward to. I gotta get up early, shower and shave fast, pick out a different tie and shirt every day (I wear the same brown suit, no problem there), make my own breakfast, and race to make the 8:40 bus. This morning, though, was different. It was the anniversary of my mom’s passing away and I was thinking of her up in Heaven looking down on what I been up to.

Maybe that’s why, a block from the bus stop, I guided a blind man across the street, and on the opposite side I calmed down a pedestrian who’d been nearly clipped by a cab running the light. The 41 Express, because ‘a my dilly-dallying, pulled out without me, which was alright, ‘cause I got a little sun on my face while waiting for the next bus. When it came, I helped a mom haul her stroller up the steps, which loaded up the front, making me wait for the local. I didn’t mind. Today was the day for being a Good Samaritan.

The bus dropped me off a block from my place and I gave a buck to a homeless person hanging around the stop. Grateful, he shook my hand. Half a block away I carried an old lady’s grocery bag up her stoop.

I gotta’ admit that doing acts of charity felt good. Like mom used to lecture me as a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” For this morning, at least, she wasn’t the only saint in the family.

My supervisor, though, didn’t subscribe to the Golden Rule. ”Where the hell ya been,” he snarled from the door of his office as soon as I entered. “You’re late. A big account called in a few minutes ago and I had to give it to Charlie who was here on time.” He muttered something about the upcoming quarterly evaluation report and the yearly bonus.

How late was I? I looked at my watch. Hell! That crummy homeless person musta’ lifted it when he shook my hand. Hey, my cuff’s got somethin’ on it. Christ! That stupid old lady’s grocery bag musta’ leaked when I carried it up her stoop. I spotted a dark stain on my trousers. Damn! A tire on the unmarried teenager’s stroller musta’ rubbed against it at the bus stop. I sniffed an unfamiliar smell, lifted one foot, and looked under my shoe. Shit! I probably stepped into a pile when I helped the blind geezer cross the street, or maybe when I cooled down the dumb jay-walking pedestrian at the curb.

“Give me a couple ‘a minutes to clean up,” I told my boss. I ignored his sour look, hurried into the bathroom, tore off a couple ‘a feet of toweling, wet it, and started to clean myself up. “Next time,” I warned myself, “let the social workers do the good deeds.”