The Good Guy

Hans and Wifesy were walking in front of May and I.  I don’t know what they were chatting about, but May and I were discussing Hans’s job as the building manager.  We were talking about their difficult Latin neighbor and how Hans has been handling it.


Just then, Wifesy and Hans stopped on the sidewalk and turned around.  They stopped us too and said, “Hold on, the guy up there is on something.  He might be cracked out or out of his mind, we don’t know.  But, he’s leaning against the side of that building and either puking or peeing.”


Interesting, I thought.  Neither May nor I had seen him.  Hans and Wifesy had been walking in front and both of them had witnessed the man behaving erratically.  The man peeled himself off the building and then walked towards – wait for it – his car.  He stood outside the driver side door and fumbled with his keys.  At this point, we had all started walking towards him again.  Now we could all see it for what it was – he was blind drunk.


Blind drunk and about to get in his car.


Hans quickened his pace until he was a good 7 feet in front of all of us.  “Hey man.  Hey man, you don’t want to do that,” he said.


The guy looked up from his car and I braced myself for what might be a fight.


Wifesy was behind Hans and let out a slightly more accusatory, “You’re really drunk.”


“You don’t want to do that man.  You’ll ruin your life,” Hans said.  “You can lose your license for something like 27 years.”


“I’m fine,” said the guy.


Wifesy – and I could tell because I truly know this woman by now – was gearing up to stick a “we’ll call the police” in there when Hans said, “Where are you going, man?”


And the guy said, “I’m staying just over there by the hotel.”


“I’ll drive you,” said Hans.  “I live in the neighborhood, right around the corner, and I’ll drive you.”


With that, the most amazing thing happened – the guy handed over the keys.  He almost looked relieved.


I have no doubt this is what the car would’ve looked like, if drunky had been allowed behind the wheel…


I gave Hans a hug goodbye and thanked him for a nice dinner.  May, Hans’s girlfriend, gave us a hug too and asked the drunk gentleman if she should get in the front or the back of the car.  He insisted that she get in the front with Hans.


Then the blind drunk man got in the back of his own car.


Hans drove him and parked the car in front of the place where he was staying for the night.


As the man got out, he thanked them, but before he did, the man paused and said, “Wow, I’m really drunk.”


What was awesome to me about the interaction was the way Hans diffused the situation.  Maybe because of our genders, maybe because of our natures (I’m not sure) if Wifesy and I had to deal with the situation alone, I feel it would’ve spiraled into an accusatory fight.  But, Hans talked to him like a bro.  One dude to another.  He simply helped the man keep his dignity and kept him safe.  This is the most difficult thing to do in almost confrontation situations.


A girl handles them differently, but a girl can still handle them.


I remember getting on a Lothian bus in the UK a few years back.  I had been waiting at the bus stop moments before and there was a man there, along with some other people.  How do I put this plainly?  I didn’t like his energy.  He was standing to close to everyone and everything about him was a little, “in your face.”


Sure enough, we got on the crowded bus and the guy was agitated.  All I could think was, “he’s going to start a fight with someone.”


A nice fellow, older, late 40s, got on the bus with his wife.  Now, if we need to get really primitive here – this is the worst of situations.  The minute a man feels he has to protect something he cares about, the whole confrontation is going to ratchet up a notch.  Within minutes, the agitated man said something to the nice fellow and his wife.  There were words.  The agitated fellow was inviting the nice fellow off the bus to really have at it.  I couldn’t take this anymore.  Brits (and a lot of Americans for that matter) tend to mind there business, but not New Yorkers.  We get into everyone’s.  It’s like part of our DNA.  I placed my hand on the back of the nice fellow’s jacket and I said, “You don’t want to do this.  He’s been like that since before we got on the bus.  He’s looking to pick a fight with anyone.”  I could – literally – feel the nice fellow relax.  All the tension in his back washed away as I said this.  He motioned to his wife and the three of us walked up the stairs to the second level and away from crazy.


Sometimes birds are useless, sadly…


I don’t always hit the sweet spot correctly in these situations, but I did that day on the Lothian bus.


It’s also different for a woman.  She can’t always be the peacemaker she wants to be because as a woman you’re ALWAYS thinking about not putting yourself into dangerous situations.


Wifesy and I talked about Hans on the way home.  “It was terrific how he diffused that situation with a sentence or two,” I said.


“Yeah, it was,” said Wifesy.  “It was really a guy to guy thing, you know.”


“Yep, I’d agree.”


“Sad we could never do the same though.”


“What do you mean?” I asked.


“Well, think about it.  If you and I were alone together, we’re not going to offer to drive a man’s car somewhere for him, even if he’s blind drunk, even if there are two of us.”


I knew she was right.  There are certain things that you can do as a gent, that it just wouldn’t be wise to do as a woman.  Interesting, isn’t it?



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28 thoughts on “The Good Guy

  1. The ‘useless’ white dove is a pigeon by another name. And pigeons were not native to the U.S. The were imported by find restaurants because it was a favored, fancy-smancy entre back in the old country. So, in reality, they are not useless. They were once good eating. Probably still could be if people can bring themselve to eat scavangers that eat garbage. Maybe rural pigeons are healthier.

    1. i feckin’ knew it! loool. actually, i didn’t know that at all. so, i’m glad you left this here. interesting how they became a ‘peace’ symbol, eh? from your description, we might’ve well used some ‘dumpster divers’ the same way. ;) xo, sm

  2. What a great story. Husband has that way about him. He oozes peace, which is a good balance to my sometimes unbalanced nature.

    1. “he oozes peace” — is there a way to bottle this delightful ooze and market it around like “axe” body spray? oh, how i wish there was… he sounds spectacular tho. xoxo, sm

    1. looooooooool. i know. everyone has needed a hans at one point or another. this guy though couldn’t even walk. it wasn’t a couple of drinks. he was close to blackout drunk… cray-cray. anyhoo, as always, glad you liked it, jon. xoxo

      1. I guess I was a bit more dignified in my drunkenness. At least I waited until the sun went down before I got close to blackout drunk…..most of the time.

        It’s interesting to see the reasons why people get that way, so early in the day. They are never the same. “I’m sad…drink.” “I’m happy…drink.” “I’m off of work early…drink.” “It’s St. Patty’s day…green drink.”

  3. Thought-provoking, and I think you’re probably right. He accepted the ride from Hans better than he would have from you guys, maybe just for the simple reason that a man feels he must preen and be tough in front of a woman. He may not remember it–in fact, he probably won’t–but you guys may very well have saved his, or someone else’s, life.

  4. My pop was often the guy trying to drive – the approach Hans made was perfect – guy to guy – preserving his dignity. I can’t tell you how many times we were driven home by a “pal” as kids with pop passed out in the back – probably saved our lives.

    1. phew, scary and yet awesome that there were enough “pals” around to help you guys out. i tell you, i really thought this was a distinctly male approach – in a good way. i don’t think hans even gave a second thought to the way he approached the guy or how it turned out, but i did and it occurred to me that myself and wifesy really would not have done the same thing. and in this instance the hans way was the absolutely correct way. really interesting. and i’m glad you guys had those ‘pals’ around, sincerely. xo, sm

      1. I think you are right – it’s something I don’t think I could do if I were alone or even with a friend. The bro approach works, I guess.

  5. Amazing. Hans is one of those peaceful, diffusers.
    I really sat and thought how I would go about stopping the problem with a stumbling stranger driver. In NYC, you could just pick so-and-so up, and throw them in a cab. Interesting strategy change.

  6. Hooray for Hans. That definitely is the right way to approach that sort of situation: just a guy thing, between two bros. And Wifesy is right, women can’t do that—we perceive and react to things differently anyway, but we also can’t just stick ourselves in situations where we could be endangered by a strange, drunk guy. Me, I go back and forth between butting in and staying the feck out of sticky situations. I try to pick my battles so I don’t get my head kicked in.

  7. Great story SM. I would have be too afraid to confront him, but would have felt the need to do something. I would have more than likely called the police. Hans IS a great guy, with a not-so-common combination of balls and brains. :-)

    1. “a not so common combination of balls and brains…” ooooooohhhhhh, loved, LOVED. you come up with some great gems sometimes, wendos. and how right you are. how right. xo, sm

  8. I agree with everything in this post, except the bit about ladies not being able to do anything in explosive situations. We can, but the circumstances are rare. And it takes a lot of us to do it. One or two women is not enough.

    I’ve only experienced one of these special circumstances, and that was in a busy shopping mall when a young woman ran into the ladies toilets to get away from her abusive boyfriend. He followed her in and there we all were. It was nasty but the thing that amazed me was that every woman in that smallish space – about 8 or 9 of us – just quietly advanced on the guy. En masse, as if we had telepathy or something. We just kind of got between the guy and the girl until security arrived.

    It wasn’t heroic and it wasn’t planned and I think we were all surprised by what we did but… we did it and I’ve never been so proud of being a woman in all my life. Excuse the pun but even a flock of ‘birds’ can be scary if there’s enough of them. ;)

  9. More men with Hans’ make up would make the world a better place. Maybe then a woman could offer to drive a drunk man to his hotel without worrying about her own safety.

  10. I wish there were more Hanses in the world. And hey sweetmom, I give you props for trying to diffuse a hostile situation yourself. I would just cower under a seat and try not to get sprayed in blood.

  11. what you say about the UK bus situation is so on the button, lucky it is rare that I get caught up in them but I do seem to attract crazy people usual scroungers, drunk and after handout and it is awkward that I never carry cash anymore not since every place has electronic payment methods

  12. I personally love that about New Yorkers. Hubs isn’t a New Yorker, but he has that same propensity to get in everyone’s business. It’s admirable, though it can ruin a date night…or any other special occasion.

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