One stormy winter night I was working late to finish my annual report. My job done, I hurried home through the deserted streets in a storm that had come up during the evening.
Suddenly a faint voice called: “Sir! Can you help me, please?”
I looked around to see who was in need, but I could see nobody.
“Sir?” the voice repeated, apparently close but still I seemed to be completely alone.
“Who’s there?” I asked. “Where are you?”
“Right here!” the invisible man said, “Right in front of you!”
Only then did I notice the snowman in the garden of a house I had just passed. He had not been there when I went to work. The children, or whoever made him, had done quite a job: I had to look up to him, and I am six feet six, you know.
“Over here!” he called. I swear to you: this snowman was actually talking to me!
“How can I help you?” I asked, trying to act as normally as possible as I approached the fence he was standing behind.
“Sorry to bother you,” he said, “My hat has been blown off in the storm, and I can’t move to pick it up. It’s over there in those bushes. Could you please put it back on?”
Now I may be quite straightforward, but I feel a bit awkward to trespass other people’s gardens late in the evening just to pick up a snowman’s stray hat. I hesitated.
“Come on! Don’t be afraid!” the snowman urged me on, “There’s nobody home! Your footprints will be wiped out soon enough!” So I stepped over the fence, picked up the hat and placed it on the snowman’s head after filling it up with snow to make sure it wouldn’t come off again.
“Ah, that’s better!” he said, “My head was freezing! Thank you!”
“You’re welcome,” I replied as I stepped over the fence. “Will that be all?”
“Yes, I’ll be OK,” he said. “Have a nice evening!”
“Thank you! You too!” I answered, and hurried home to get a drink. And another. And another.