Doing a Good Turn!

I was returning home from the office on my motorcycle when a pedestrian hailed me for a lift.

Now, I consider myself to be a Good Samaritan; in school as a Boy Scout it was 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 I regretted later!

While riding I prefer to keep my mouth shut and devote my whole-hearted attention to the road. But my pillion rider was a conversationalist who, it seemed, liked to talk. Within a few minutes, on being quizzed by the man, I told him my name, my address, where I worked, my family background, when had I purchased the motorcycle, what was its mileage, how much salary I earned… almost everything about myself. The man, a complete stranger at that, thought nothing improper about 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 be a very pleasant ride for you today since you have me to give you company," he said.

Pleasant! The ride was sheer torture! But, again, good manners required I nod my head in agreement, and I did so.

By then, we had almost reached his destination.

"Do you always return home at this hour?" he asked me.

I was about to say a"yes", but 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 disappointment in that "Oh", but I congratulated myself for my sagacity.

"It is unfortunate for you; if you were to return at this hour every day I could have met you on the way and 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.

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