Friday, July 30, 2010

Even the crazies are helpful in Rio de Janeiro

My boys and I went on a supermarket run to the Zona Sul this morning.

We were waiting for the light to change to cross the street when a totally crazy bum walked up to us.  He had noticed my youngest's super blond hair and then became intrigued with both boys.

Fair enough, he seemed crazy but not dangerous. He came up and said hello to the boys while keeping a respectful distance.  This kind of thing doesn't really bother me as long as the crazies respect our space. Bums are people too and it's good for my boys to learn to be polite to everyone.

Well, Crazy, as I'm going to refer to him, saw that we were waiting to cross and decided to take it upon himself to stop traffic for us. I said no no, really you don't need to. He disagreed. Luka called to him and told him that he couldn't go into the street until the light was red. 

Crazy thought that was really funny and turned to Luka every few seconds just to say, It's ok Ref, It's ok. 

So cars are zooming around him as he is enthusiastically putting up the international hand signal for stop.  Funny thing about Carioca drivers is that they are used to this kind of thing and can swerve around people without even slowing down.  I don't know how, but after a couple of minutes he actually managed to stop traffic. 

I didn't know what to do. Should you encourage Crazy? He was only trying to help. I hesitated and he told us "quick quick. Go go.  It's ok Ref".  You can't fight Crazy with logic so I crossed just to get him out from the middle of the street.  The light changed the moment we were on the other side. 

At the very least, the people J walking down the street got a big kick out of it.  I guess the good samaritan bum isn't something you see every day here. 


  1. yes... bums and crazy are people too and deserve respect and kindness... stupid you have to be careful of while being kind and respectful. They can be dangerous to themselves and others... so you were right to hesitate a little.

  2. It happened to me the other day, but I wasn't crossing, I was a driver. Nonetheless, Mr. Crazy managed to stop traffic at Leopoldina, for those who don't know the area, it is VERY busy and about five lanes across. The best part was that he was stopping traffic so that a dog could cross. He succeeded and the dog crossed safely :)