I took the MARTA train to the Bruce Springsteen concert, exited at the station next to Philips Arena, and approached the tall escalators that would take me next to Philips. To my right and just ahead of me, two women walked to the bottom of one of the escalators. They were side by side until one stepped on the escalator, and the other remained, frozen in place. She began quivering and shaking her hands nervously. Perhaps intimidated by the escalator’s height, she exclaimed, “I just can’t do it! I can’t!” She stood just before the bottom, refusing to step forward while her friend moved upward, waving her arms encouragingly, saying, “Come on, come on.” But she wouldn’t budge. She continued to shake her arms and speak nervously: “I can’t! I can’t!” Her friend continued to rise.
I stepped beside the frightened woman, looked her in the eyes and said, “We’ll do this together.” I took her hand in mine. She smiled and said, “OK.” I said, “We’re going to take this step nice and easy. Let’s go.” We stepped onto it and rode up holding hands. Near the top, I said, “We’re going to step off just like we stepped on. Together. Here we go.” We stepped off the escalator and released our hands. She joined her friend; they went to the right, and I went to the left. They looked back and said, “Thank you.”
Bruce didn’t sing “Human Touch” that night, but it’s one of my favorites. Here’s how some of it goes:
“Tell me in a world without pity
Do you think what I’m askin’s too much?
I just want something to hold on to
And a little of that human touch
Just a little of that human touch.”
“You might need somethin’ to hold on to
When all the answers they don’t amount to much
Somebody that you can just talk to
And a little of that human touch.”
The concert was great, and it was a good day.
Here’s someone’s recording of “Human Touch”: