So I went home from work yesterday feeling snarky about a tiff I’d just had with my product manager–snarky enough that I forgot I was going to pick up Mike and just stormed straight home. Of course, fifteen minutes after I got home, Mike called and mentioned that he was going to be on the shuttle, so I turned around and went back to pick him up. I got there early, and as I was sitting in Esmeralda (my truck) waiting for him, a woman knocked on my truck window.
She was nearly hysterical–for which I can hardly blame her–but it eventually came out that she had just had her husband arrested for domestic violence, she had no money, and she desperately needed someone to take her and her baby down to San Mateo’s battered women’s shelter. (All the SF and East Bay shelters were already full.) So I talked with Mike, and we wound up agreeing that he would take the bus home and I would take her down to San Mateo.
She was terrified because, while the judge had refused to release him until he posted bail, he wasn’t able to give her a restraining order since both their names were on the lease, giving her husband the legal right to be in the house. Her husband had immediately started the process of posting bail, and she didn’t know when he was going to get out and come home (and, presumably, come after her).
Eventually we worked out that, since she was not comfortable taking the baby in a car without a baby seat, she would take a bus to Caltrain and Caltrain down to San Mateo, where the battered women’s shelter would pick her up. She had no cash–her husband had taken it all–so I gave her all the cash I had in my wallet (about $100), took her home so she could get her baby, and made sure she was clear and on her way to the bus before leaving.
I’m happy to have been of service to someone who desperately needed it–I hope she comes out of it OK–and all in all, I think I’ve decided that my product manager’s snarkiness isn’t such a big deal. I used to volunteer with the Support Network for Battered Women, so domestic violence is something I’m deeply concerned about–glad I was able to help her.