Doing a good turn
I was returning home from office on my motorcycle when a pedestrian hailed me for a lift.
Now, I consider myself to be a good Samaritan; in school I was a Boy Scout and it had been ingrained in my mind that I should try to do a good turn every day. On that particular day no opportunity had presented to me till that moment to do a good turn. So, when the man hailed me, I was more than happy to stop and offer him a lift. This was a decision which I regretted later!
While driving I prefer to keep my mouth shut and devote my whole-hearted attention to the road. But my pillion rider was a conversationalist who liked to talk.
Within a few minutes, on being quizzed by the man, I had told him my name, my address, where I worked, my family background, when did I purchase the motorcycle, what was its mileage, how much salary I earned, ....... almost everything about myself. The man, a complete stranger at that, found nothing improper in asking me personal questions.
His incessant questioning was irritating me; I wanted to stop the vehicle and ask him to get down. But a Boy Scout cannot leave a task unfinished; I had offered him a lift and it was my duty to convey him to his destination. So, although not wanting to, I made a supreme effort to tolerate his chatter, and rode on.
"It must be boring to drive if you don't have someone to talk to," he commented.
I thoroughly disagreed with him, but good manners required that I nod my head in agreement. I did likewise.
"It must have been a very pleasant ride for you today since you had me to give you company," he said.
Pleasant! The ride had been sheer torture for me. But, again, good manners required I nod my head in agreement, and I did so.
By then, we had almost reached the spot where he wanted to get down.
"Do you always return home at this time?" he asked me.
I was about to say "yes" when I checked myself in time, realizing the dangers that the innocent question held. I did not want the man to lie in wait for me every day. "No," I said, "I don't have regular hours of work; I managed to sneak out of office early today".
"Oh!" the man exclaimed.
I could detect a certain regret in that "Oh", but I congratulated myself for my sagacity.
"It is unfortunate for you; if only you had returned at the same hour every day I could have given you company," he said.
I feigned grief at my misfortune, and made some clucking noise to indicate my sorrow. But deep inside, I was rejoicing!
We reached the man's destination and he asked me to stop. He got down and walked away briskly without a word of thanks.
Looking at his receding back I wondered whether it was I who had done him a good turn, or was it he who had done me a good turn.