Every so often, we’ll see a report on CNN or Fox News or NBC about the hidden camera. You’ve seen the report. This time, let’s say it’s Chicago. There’s lots of news out of Chicago these days. The hidden camera zooms in on the 6 year old daughter of the reporter, who is sitting on the sidewalk, crying. It’s shortly before 9am, and she is right downtown. Rush hour. Busy business people are walking everywhere, passing her, looking at her, Hundreds of people. A few stop to ask if she is ok, but she keeps crying, and they move on.
News stories like that always disgust me, but no longer surprise me. Before I became a volunteer EMT, I was witness to or arrived shortly after some pretty nasty accidents. Some vehicular, sometimes somebody collapsing in a grocery store, falling off a roof. I was usually the only one to offer assistance, but became keenly aware that others were slowing down to look. Or not even slowing down. Maybe a few called 911, and considered their civic duty completed.
However, I was surprised the other day. Not by the character of the person I’m going to tell you about, but that something actually happened. Diane was telling me, just the other day, that she was on her way home from work, and noticed a couple of cars stopped on the side of the road, and there was an individual laying down between the cars. Thinking that “didn’t look right”, she made a U-Turn, and circled back to see if she could help.
As it turns out, the two cars had stopped to assist this person who was just lying on the side of the road. It was a cold night, and Diane said she just asked some questions to determine what was going on. She asked if she could get him a blanket, and waited with him until EMS arrived.
Diane really didn’t “do” much to physically help this person. However, the fact that somebody stopped, and took 10 minutes out of her day to talk, reassure, comfort, and keep the scared person warm until the ambulance arrived speaks volumes to me.
She indicated that EMS thanked her profusely for getting a little information, and for keeping him warm.
I don’t know who the patient was, what was wrong with him, or anything else about him. Neither does Diane. But that’s not the important part. The big thing is that she took some time, and cared for another person, and that’s all it really takes.
The next time you see something that’s “not right”, please stop to see if there’s anything you can do. Even if it’s just to keep the person company until “help” arrives, that can sometimes make a huge difference.