While at the pool store tonight, a lady burst through the door dragging her empty chlorine containers while shouting “I don’t have my cell phone, will someone please call 911? There’s a guy just lying on the sidewalk.”
I knew the cashier was busy at the cash register but I fully expected him to place the call. He didn’t. So I asked the lady for more details and after finding out exactly where the man was I place the call. The operator even asked if he was breathing and I reminded her I never saw the man and had no way of knowing. She said help was on the way.
I finished my shopping and as we walked out of the store saw two fire rescue trucks there. I walked over to see if they found the man and sure enough they did and he was already in the truck. And that was that.
Except it wasn’t really over because I started replaying all the things that didn’t happen but should of. And though I stepped up to the plate and made the call, I should have done more. See what you think.
- Why didn’t the cashier place the call? He wasn’t some young guy but an adult partner in the business who should have known better.
- Why didn’t shoppers get involved or even go look?
- Why didn’t any other shoppers even offer to place the call?
- Why didn’t one of us run outside to offer assistance?
- Why, after the call was finally made, did we continue on our way when this person might have needed immediate medical assistance that could possibly change the course of his life?
Years ago my hubby’s mom suffered a stroke while walking to the mailbox, falling on the sidewalk. People were around and came to her rescue encouraging her to remain calm, stay still, and not be scared. As her kids, we were so grateful for the help. No one really did anything other than call the ambulance but they offered support and encouragement. And Mom didn’t have to be there alone and afraid.
In today’s case I think we all assumed it was a drunk merely passed out but does that make it any less important? What if this was a regular guy who had a stroke, or someone who tripped and struck his head, passing out afterwards? What if this person was diabetic and in a coma?
The problem is, we didn’t know and we didn’t respond. Not one of us. No one went to look out of curiosity and no one went to offer first aid. I remembered the question “Is he breathing?” I had no way of knowing because even though I placed the call, I didn’t go see if I could be of assistance.
Excuses. Just excuses. We’re afraid of liability, we’re afraid of not knowing what to do, we’re afraid for our lives (what if this is a set-up), we’re afraid of looking foolish if the guy is drunk and needs sleep more than our help…and on and on.
Shame on me and shame on us. It’s hard taking a look at ourselves and seeing reflected back traits that are less than exemplary. I don’t know what I’ll do should something like this happen again, but I’m praying that I’ll remember today’s events and change my course of action in the future.