Saturday, October 5, 2013

i try lending a hand to a stranger

Several months ago I was going for a run one afternoon. I tripped on an uneven section of pavement and skidded along on my knees and forearms. I slowly got to my feet and looked down to see blood dribbling down both my legs. I'd made a mess of my knees and had giant grazes running down both my arms. My knees hurt. My arms hurt. The palms of my hands felt like they were on fire. I felt sick.

As I stood hunched over, trying to pull myself together, I looked up to see a man walking towards me. As he came closer he didn't look at me at all. Then he walked right past me as if I wasn't even there. I sat down on the grass waiting for the shock and nausea to fade. I couldn't help but wonder what kind of person would walk straight past another person, who is clearly in need of assistance, and not even bat an eyelid. How could anyone do that? How? I couldn't fathom it at all. A simple "are you ok?" was all that was required and yet this man preferred to pretend I didn't exist. 

Fast forward to earlier this week. I was walking to work and a cyclist came off his bike about 20m ahead of me on the bike path. It was a wet day and tight corner. I could see he was conscious but not getting up. I ran up to him and asked if he was ok. He said he was but he was very sore. He looked very sore. I pulled his bike off him and asked if he had any pain in his back. He said a little. At this point I watched as the next four cyclists who came down the path immediately, without hesitation, stopped, got off their bikes, and came over to check if this man was ok. No hesitation at all. I'm sure they all had places they needed to be but they stopped without a second thought. Two of them helped to lift the man off the path and onto the grass, one helped him take his shoes off to make sure he could wiggle his toes, and the other helped remove his helmet and backpack.

The man said he didn't need an ambulance and that he would sit for a moment and see how he was after five minutes. He said numerous times he really appreciated all of us stopping and I truly believe he was being genuine.

There is something about a stranger helping another stranger that seems to have a deep impact. Doing something for someone you've never met and will probably never see again. It's a small reminder that we are all in this together.

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