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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Turn around, I want to go back in time

As mothers and fathers, there are certain things that we do purely by instinct when we sense that danger is imminent.

Have you ever braked sharply and put your hand across your passenger's chest in an effort to "protect" them? (I once did this with the CEO of our company and we shared a laugh after the fact.) Well, that would be instinct. You simply act without thinking - without regard to the consequences.

There are always abberations of nature - meaning folks who just don't act the way they should in certain situations. (If you have ever been at a social function with me when I was nervous and heard me belt out some Ethel Merman, you would know what I was talking about.)

Tonight, my husband witnessed something at the Mart that Mr. Sam built that just makes my heart heavy. He had stopped in to purchase a few things for me after Church so I could feed our children's sleepover guests something besides sugar and butter for breakfast.

While he was there he heard a child's wailing that stopped him in his tracks and pulled him towards her direction. When he had worked his way through the sea of 4 ways that is known as "women's world" at W*l M*rt, he saw a young girl about the age of our oldest daughter sobbing and hysterical over her mother, who was lying on the floor, unresponsive.

As folks gathered in a circle around the woman, none of the employees or customers made a move to a) assist the woman or her child, or b) call emergency medical services. He was positively frustrated at the lack of concern people showed over the woman and her daughter and said so, right there in the middle of all those people.

As he related this to me back at home (he had been gone for over an hour on what should have been a 20 minute trip - I had to have some details, folks!)I admit I got a little indignant about "those people". What's wrong with folks nowadays? Why doesn't anyone want to help other folks out anymore? Where did our natural desire to help in time of need disappear to?

I thought back to my childhood here in Texas and how it was when I was growing up on the farm. When someone was sick or injured, you practically had the whole town show up to help get you through whatever misfortune had occurred. When it was over, you didn't "owe anyone a favor" and there was no paying back anything.

People did for you because it was the right thing to do.

All I could think about was, "What if that had been me on the floor and my youngest daughter crying out for help?"

When did we stop doing things because it was the right thing to do? Is it possible for us to turn things around?


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15 comments:

Emily said...

What a sad story. I'm so glad that your husband was there to help; it is kind of tragic how there are so few community aspects of our communities anymore.

Stitchblade said...

Stuff like that sickens me. People are so afraid of anything and everything these days. From the major things to the minor things. I watched a video once of a woman getting stabbed over and over. People all around, one person catching it on video others just standing around watching this poor woman get attacked. Minute after minute I was like ok this guy will help her. Nope...it was so horrible sad how long it took someone to finally help. That is one of the Major ones, and then the Minor's....you know like helping a woman with a double stroller open a door. Why are people so afraid?

Candace said...

It is sad how communities don't pull together anymore. Its like everyone can't be inconvenienced or something. Yesterday I had a military mom that came to our church this past Sunday for the first time call me. She was in tears and in desperate need of help. Her hubby has been in Iraq for 15 months! She said all of the other military wives laugh at her if she mentions she still feels sad and cries over her hubby being gone. After 15 or 20 minutes she was finally calm enough to tend to her 3 children. Why can't the ones that are experiencing the same thing pull together and help? Why do we have to be so cruel to each other?

CanCan said...

I always see that here (in Laos) if someone is in a motorbike accident or something, no one tries to help, people will actually steal stuff from someone unconscious from a motorbike accident! In my mind I thought "In America, this wouldn't happen." But I guess people are selfish jerks all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Pure selfishness.

Summer said...

I so agree. But others have made people afraid. Too many times, someone has stepped in to help while others stood around watching and somehow the good samaritan gets the bad wrap. It's happened before. And it's sad. People just aren't decent anymore. Definitely not courteous anymore. I was in the same kind of store the other night when the young girl in front of me was being harassed by two drunk men. The clerk offered no help. When I heard what was going on, I offered to walk out with her (two is better than one). Oh, I pray for our children going up in this twisted sort of world!

Sassafrass said...

A few years ago I was eating with my family at a restaurant. It was a nice night so we decided to sit on the picnic tables on the patio. While we were munching on our appetizers, a woman at the table behind me fainted, falling back onto my bench! I just sat there for a few moments motionless with my heart pounding out of my ears b/c I didnt know what to do. After I finally got over my shock, my first aid training set in and we laid her on the ground as I checked her pulse and told someone to call 911. I didn't do this at first b/c in that instant, my mind was blank and I couldn't think what to do. Do you think that is why people just stand and stared when others need help? They are scared and clueless? If it wasn't for my first aid training, who knows how long I would have sat there and stared too? But, I do have to say, it doesn't take first aid training to call 911. I'm pretty sure everyone knows to do that when someone is passed out on the floor.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

That amazes and saddens me. I grew up in a very small town, and we were raised on these same values...good work ethic, looking out for our neighbor, showing love and concern just because we care. I don't get the indifferent mindset.

twithhoney said...

Sadly, this indifference or simply standing around staring and gaping at a situation is far too frequent. I understand not wanting to get involved for fear of getting caught up in a law suit or some such nonsense. Luckily there are Good Samaritan laws to protect those that do help.

People, in general, have become too me centric or have never been given a proper model or been witness to kindness. So I start changing the world by changing myself. At least my family will know how to respond in an emergency and to help someone in need.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

In that situation, I wouldn't hestitate to do something. I cannot imagine how anyone would. That's completely bizarre, to me.

Mocha with Linda said...

I totally don't get this. But then I don't get how that woman on the news could have died on the floor of an ER waiting room either. People are scared to get involved, scared they'll be sued, etc. It's a sad commentary on the self-absorbed world we live in. I'm glad your husband took the time to check it out; even I would have probably assumed some kid was having a tantrum over a toy.

Shelly W said...

That so reminds me of my first trip to NYC with my parents back in 1981. A woman (probably homeless) was lying in the middle of the sidewalk. People were literally stepping over her to get wherever they needed to go. My dad went over to a nearby doorman and said, "A woman over there needs help." The doorman's response was "That's not my building." My dad would not leave this woman until he saw that an ambulance was coming to assist her. I gained a lot of respect for my father that day, and I've never forgotten it.

Scribbit said...

Thank goodness your husband was there--I hope he was able to help her and that she was okay.

I've read and heard from several places that the more people that witness something like that the greater the chance that no one will do anything. It's the "someone else will step in so I don't have to" mentality and it's a natural human thing but if you're the only one to witness a crime then the odds of you stepping in suddenly increase and people will do quite a bit to make things right. An odd phenomenon I guess but just knowing that it's in play helps me know not to give in to it myself.

Flea said...

That's so hard to believe. But not. Was the woman okay? I assume your husband called 911 and helped?

Natalie @ I AM (not) said...

Wow. I don't get it.