People in New York City get an unusual amount of criticism. Many people believe New Yorkers are rude, fast paced, and a little high maintenance. The city can be scary, there are always people milling about, talking loudly, and generally keeping to themselves.
I grew up pretty close to the city. I’ve gone there many times over the course of my life and until I was 18, I never really spoke to someone on the street if I didn’t know them. I, even though I had been there so frequently, believed that people would be rude to me if I talked to them in the City, which is relatively typical for a person who doesn’t live there.
There are moments, like those in movies, where you need to stop and ask for help on the streets of New York City. I had one of those moments recently. I went out to dinner with coworkers from my internship and had to leave early to catch a train back to my suburban home. I didn’t ask for someone to direct me to the nearest subway station, I had Google Maps, there was no need to interrupt dinner over the subway station.
I should have asked.
I walked from the restaurant for about 45 minutes before I realized I was very lost. Google Maps, apparently, is not the best tool to use while in the city. I had a moment of panic: I was in the city at night, lost with no real clue on how to get to the subway station. I sat on the sidewalk, playing in my mind the moment where I got lost forever in the city to never see someone I knew again. I, then, called my parents. They suggested Uber, which was a wonderful plan! Expect for the app apparently did not want to work that night.
My parents then suggested something I had yet to think of. Ask for help. Okay, not a crazy request, I could do this. I am legally an adult and I can ask for help if I need it!
I stood on the corner of a street for 10 minutes, before I walked up to two women having a polite conversation. They were truly sweet woman, one even walked all the way to the subway station with me.
Okay, asking for help worked.
I was at the final stretch. The subway was there. I could find my train now.
Unfortunately, the subway station is about as hard to navigate as the streets were. I was lost again for another 45 minutes. I had to ask for help again. I had to do it. I had to ask for help finding this elusive Path train. I nearly found it, with the help of a man who stopped when he saw me cursing and wandering around lost. He walked me through the subway for quite sometime, but he was a fast walker. I am a very slow walker and I was wearing heels. What a dumb decision.
He walked around with me, until he got lost as well. Our journey ended after I fell down the stairs. My ankle had rolled and I was not prepared. Nearly every single person in that staircase stopped, and there must have been at least eight or nine people. One man made sure that I didn’t tumble down, by quickly grabbing my arms to steady me. A woman ran over to check on me and my ankle. Another man stopped to tell me I was “a tough cookie.”
Every single one of them was so concerned for me. Every one of them was incredibly sweet, making sure I was alright before I continued on my adventure.
I never found the train and I had to wait at a bus stop for 30 minutes for my dad to pick me up, but I did learn a few things.
Number one: never, ever wear heels to the city without a flats in your purse.
Number two: asking for help is not as scary as it seems. Multiple people went out of their way to help me that night.
Number three: New Yorkers are not these terrifying people who will be rude to you if you ask a question.So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people will help you without a second thought.