I was standing at the sink, washing my hands, in a public restroom. In the mirror, behind my own reflection, I noticed woman wearing a bright red jacket and a nametag that indicated that she was at the same conference as me. She was in a wheelchair.
What caught my attention was that she had paused at the open door to the large stall on the end. I could tell she was having some sort of difficulty, but I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. As I dried my hands, I tried to figure out how I could help. But I was seized with uncharacteristic shyness. I wanted to see what the problem was, but I didn’t want to stare at her. I wanted to help, but I didn’t want to assume that she needed my help. I had good intentions but was seized by the worry that I might do something offensive out of my own ignorance.
Just then a young woman, about the age of my daughter, stepped away from the same set of sinks. She walked over to the woman in the wheelchair, looked at her without hesitation, and said, “What can I do to help?”
“This stall is the only one I can get into, and there’s no toilet paper left,” the woman in the red jacket said. “Can you get me some?”
The young woman ducked into a stall, handed out the toilet paper, smiled again, and went on her way.