I work at 20th & Market, and walk to Suburban Station every day after work via JFK Boulevard. On Friday, as I was crossing 19th Street, a SEPTA bus made a right-hand turn from JFK onto 19th, going through the yellow light. I am 65+, and walk slowly. The bus kept moving towards me as I crossed, not stopping, but continuing to move as I tried to get across. Fearful that the bus would hit me, I tried to move faster, but stumbled on a bump in the rut-filled street. I pitched forward, doing a face-plant onto the sidewalk on the far side of 19th.
Face down on the curb cut, body in the street, I lay there for a minute or so. I was stunned, and my nose was bleeding copiously. Then hands reached towards me with tissues, people stopped to see if I was OK, two or three folks helped me get up – and I am non light load! - to walk me to the concrete tree planter so I could sit in the shade and collect my wits. A man in a suit handed me a box of issues, and a woman gave me a baggie of ice. A woman who said she was an American Airlines flight attendant insisted on staying with me. Another woman, pulled wet wipes out of her purse, and some Arnica slave for my scraped nose and swelling lip. She said she worked in day care & was always prepared! Both would not leave, although I am sure they had places to go.
The owner of Freso Café, a restaurant near the corner, came out with a big bag of ice, a clean towel a bottle of water and some Advil. He asked where I was going. When I told him I was taking the train home to Glenside, he disappeared for a bit. A few minutes later, he reappeared and said that he had called a taxi to take me to Glenside – at his expense! I protested vehemently, but he would not listen, introducing me to the cab driver and helping me into the cab.
We hear so much in the news about Philly being a city of badly behaved sports fans and unfriendly folks. On the contrary, it is a city of people who care deeply, who will stop on a sunny Friday afternoon on their way to their weekend, and help a stranger. I do not know what would have happened if these kind people had not helped me. My bruises will fade, but the feeling of enormous gratitude will not. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Fresco Café makes a mighty fine sandwich, by the way. If you are in that neighborhood, stop in and let the owner know he is what Philly is all about!