#238 offering directions when asked

I had an interesting encounter this morning during my morning walks.

A Chinese China gentleman asked in Chinese language, “Do you know where the school for safety first is?”

My first thought was the driving school nearby…I asked, “Safety first…what do you mean? I don’t know of such school.”

He continued to ask, “A school?”

“I know of many schools around here,” I replied without understanding what he was asking. He persisted and I gave him direction to the nearest school.

He walked on and I was heading for that direction. After a short distance, he turned around and we met again. I asked, “Is that not the place that you’re looking for?”

He said, “No, I’m looking for a school that teaches safety-first to foreign workers in building and construction work.”

I still didn’t understand him but decided to ask an Indian elderly man passing by while interpreting for him. To my horror he was asking for direction to an institute that trains foreign workers on industrial safety-first.

I gave him the wrong direction…did that out of goodwill!!!

I reflected: For such matters, would it be prudent if he approached a man rather than a lady passerby for direction?

Would it be better had I said I didn’t understand him and walked away rather than giving wrong direction?!

If I had walked away, would I give the foreigner the impression that I was callous and unfriendly? If I gave him the wrong direction, this would exasperate him even more!

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