Last week I received an unexpected call to genuinely help someone in need. I was meeting my family for lunch in a nearby town when I noticed a small group of people looking and pointing at an elderly man who had tripped and fallen on the blacktop.
The onlookers were at least ten feet from the victim and as I approached I asked what had happened. They told me they had watched him fall and that they had called 911. None of the five people standing there took another step closer nor did anyone communicate with the injured man.
I was perplexed as I knelt next to the man and placed napkins on his bleeding arms and forehead. Why didn’t anyone put direct pressure on the wounds? I could see he was bleeding heavily and the blood looked very thin. (While I am not a medical attendant I do take First Aid and CPR classes regularly. Coaching has provided me with more than my share of assisting injured people.) As I spoke with the man I learned he was on a heavy blood thinner. I could see my words and action comforted him.
Soon an ambulance arrived and the man thanked me as he was hauled away. I was so happy I helped him. I am sure he would have been fine without me, but I am glad I was there.
To be honest, I am more concerned about the people who stood and watched than the injured man. No one seemed to want to be involved. I thought about this for the rest of the afternoon. Was it because they didn’t know what to do? Fear of getting some blood borne disease? Afraid of a lawsuit? Apathy? I will never know.
I was involved in the Boy Scouts growing up and became an Eagle Scout, and later a teacher, and a coach. I have always been taught to respond to the needs of others and I guess I expect that from others.
Maybe I am completely wrong here, maybe not, but I think we have moral and civic responsibilities to help one another, and I would rather err while trying to do something to help than do nothing at all.
I’m calling you to action: If you have not been trained in First Aid, Sports Medicine, CPR or some other emergency response training, please find a few hours and take a class. I hope you never have to use what you learn, but I know you will be thankful you did when a situation arises and no one else steps up.
(Kelly Croy is an inspirational speaker, author, and performing artist. Visit our website to invite Kelly to perform at your next event.)