(Smart Ass Cripple alias alert: The names of the people and guide dogs have been changed in this otherwise true story.)
Ringo (Smart Ass Cripple alias) moved to New York to live with his new love, Shirley Temple (Smart Ass Cripple alias). They rented a room in a three-story Victorian house in a suburb north of the Bronx. There they lived a warm and cozy life, along with Shirley Temple’s guide dog, Ayn Rand (Smart Ass Cripple dog alias).
Ringo worked the graveyard shift. And one morning after he got off work, he met Shirley Temple at Grand Central Station. He was unshowered, unshaven, unkempt, clad in his ragged work clothes. But in a few days, Shirley Temple was to begin a semester of classes on Long Island. Being blind, it was necessary for Shirley Temple to first take Ayn Rand on a dry run to campus and back on public transit so the dog could learn the route. Ringo’s job was to follow silently behind and be their eyes, only intervening if they were making a wrong turn or boarding a wrong train or doing something majorly screwy like that. Shirley Temple called this shadowing. Ringo had never shadowed for Shirley Temple before, but how hard could it be?
The problem was, when Shirley Temple tried to march Ayn Rand forward to the train, leaving Ringo a few yards behind, Ayn Rand halted. She was waiting for her buddy Ringo to come along too. Ayn Rand didn’t know any better. She was just a dumb animal. So Ringo turned and walked a few steps away, pretending to be leaving. When Ringo looked back and saw Ayn Rand leading Shirley Temple onto a subway car, he quickly ran back and jumped on the car behind, so as to remain undetected by the dog. He pushed through the packed car and up to the window so he could continue to keep an eye on Shirley Temple in the next car.
It just so happened that Ringo had boarded the only car with a conductor on board. The conductor was a bald and menacing man, built like a linebacker. He glowered at Ringo. Ringo suddenly realized what this must look like, a disheveled man staring through the window at a poor young blind woman in the next car, like some pervert. But there was no time to explain. Shirley Temple got off the train at the next stop. So Ringo ran off the train and he hid behind a post so Ayn Rand wouldn’t see him. But then, confused, Shirley Temple got back on the train! So Ringo ran back on! But Shirley Temple exited again! So Ringo ran off again! He hid behind a post!
The conductor stopped the train. “Why you following the girl?” he boomed, in a tone befitting a linebacker.
“Shhhh. I’m shadowing her,” Ringo said. And then he grimaced when he realized how that sounded.
“You stay right there!” the conductor bellowed. He waved his arm. Two NYPD came running. But the oblivious Shirley Temple was almost up the stairs. Ringo couldn’t let her get away! Ringo ran after her! But then from behind he heard “You in the red jacket! STOP!” So Ringo stopped. He didn’t want to be tasered, or shot in the back. Ringo called out to Shirley Temple. “Waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!”
But an Asian woman grabbed Shirley Temple’s arm and dragged her and Ayn Rand toward the turnstile.
NYPD grabbed Ringo and wrestled him down. “Waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!”
Shirley Temple heard Ringo’s SOS. She broke free from the Asian woman. Shirley Temple came down the stairs. She straightened everything out with NYPD and they let Ringo go.
After that Ringo had to sit for a bit and catch his breath. Shirley Temple told him the moral of the story was to never ever piss her off. Because if he does, the next time this happens, she might just tell NYPD she doesn’t know him.