Which One Are You?


August 10, 2010 by Marj Hatzell

Today I had my neighbor’s kids since summer sucks and kids don’t go to school year round.  We had errands to run and stopped to get a script at the local Mom & Pop pharmacy  when a young man in a wheelchair had some difficulty opening a very heavy exit door.  Polite Boy (my neighbor’s son) went over to assist. He’s such a good kid.  Anyways, the young man thanked Polite Boy and as we left I told him that a good deed a day goes a long way. You know, like paying it forward?  Yeah. It started a conversation about how more people need to do spontaneous things for one another JUST BECAUSE. Because it’s the right thing to do and turn the other cheek and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Then we headed to TJ’s because it’s awesome and the kids got lollipops because they found the hidden monkey (you don’t want to know) and got back to the car and suddenly my teenaged kid wrangler gasps, “That woman just fell!” So I hopped out and ran around the car in time to see another woman assisting an elderly woman on the ground.  She was already bleeding profusely.  Someone else called 911 and Joann (the other woman) and I helped Jean. People brought us napkins and tissues, frozen peas and wipes. I talked to Jean and asked her questions and calmed her down. I removed her broken, bloody glasses and took the keys from her hand.  She was worried about getting her frozen food home. She didn’t want to inconvenience anyone and certainly wasn’t going to the hospital.  She lived alone.  She was frightened and a bit altered.  So, as I handed her paper towel after paper towel and applied pressure to the gash on her nose and forehead (and, incidentally, felt her crunchy nose which I’m positive was broken, given the gushing blood and all .And the goose egg on her forehead was bleeding, too.) I noticed person after person stop and ask if we needed help. Or asked if we called for an ambulance. Or just stopped to be sure we were fine.

When the ambulance arrived and I convinced her she should get checked out, we collected her things and made sure she got on the gurney.  We said our goodbyes. She thanked us.  I then noticed my ample posterior was wet (as was my underwear and favorite yoga pants because I managed to sit in the ONLY puddle in the dang parking lot).  And I got back in the car.  And then I started shaking, no doubt from the adrenaline rush.  She was ninety and there was quite a bit of blood coming from her paper-thin skin.

But then I thought about it (five kids in the car, ambulance parked us in, wet butt, loads of fun) and realized something. I didn’t really notice the people stopping. Not while it was happening anyway. And teenaged kid wrangler and I discussed the psychology of what happened.  At least 50% of the people going in and out of that store stopped. They asked if they could help. If they didn’t ask if they could helped, they looked concerned and covered their mouths. I saw a few bless themselves (obviously Catlicks) and say a little prayer.  It renewed my faith in people.  Only a few of the people walking in and out were too busy. Or they averted their gaze or stared and then turned and walked away or turned on their heels and never bothered entering the store.  So it got me to thinking.

What kind of person are you?  Are you the person who jumps up and rushes to help?  Are you the person who kindly asks if they can help because you couldn’t possibly walk by without asking?  Are you the kind who thinks about that sweet, old lady all day, hoping she’s safely at home with a few stitches and a prescription for a pain-killer?  Or are you the person that’s too busy to stop and help?  The person who turned your head so you didn’t have to see?

What goes around comes around.  Just think. If everyone in the world did a good deed each and every day.  Just one?  Even if it was a teeny, simple thing?  Can you imagine the possibilities?

5 thoughts on “Which One Are You?

  1. I am actually the type who does not stop if I see more than a few people involved because I used to do stat calls in the hospital and the first thing we learned is that you can indeed have too many hands and by having to stop and answer questions, critical seconds can be misplaced.

    I do however, always notice and assess whether I can aide or distract.

  2. Cryssye says:

    Definitely would have helped – that’s how we were raised 🙂 But, in defense of those who didn’t – perhaps they saw things were under control. Perhaps they get sick at the sight of blood and couldn’t stay there without being a casualty themselves. Or, perhaps they are mean ignorant sob’s who have no hearts. Doesn’t change what you did, nor would it change what I would do….I applaud you for showing those 5 kids in the car what it means to be a supportive caring human on this planet! Good job!

  3. Amanda says:

    I also assess whether I can aide or distract if there are already people involved. It’s not that I don’t want to help, but the whole you can have too many helping thing. Of course if no one else is around I jump right in and see what I can do.

  4. Laura says:

    I used to be the ‘walk on by’ person. Back in my teens and twenties, before I met my husband. He was raised by a nurse and a cop, and is absolutely a jump in and help person. I’ve learned a lot by living with him all these years. Now, I’m an ‘assess if I would help or hurt’ person. Personal growth is good.

  5. Jacki says:

    If there is no one else around, I will help. But if there is a gaggle of people already around, I know that I will just be in the way. But I would still ask if there was anything I could do, like get water or towels.

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