I sometimes get very sad about the way people do not look after the vulnerable or ill. Not just for myself. I don’t need looking after, as such, I’d just like people to visit! I don’t want this to seem like an “I am awesome, all be like me” post. I’m not that arrogant, but it does upset me a great deal to see people walk past and, in some cases, step over people in need.
Today, I was walking through Portswood and could see that someone across the road at the bus stop was having difficulty. He was finding it difficult to breathe, clutching his head and chest and very, very agitated. There were maybe a dozen people at the bus stop. A bus turned up and blocked my view, but when it pulled away, he was lying on the floor with one person standing watching. The others had literally stepped over him to get on the bus and get on with their lives.
I ran over to see if he was okay. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a phone on me so I had to ask the guy who was watching if I could use his phone as there was clearly an emergency here. He actually argued against calling. I ended up screaming at him and he called 999.
Luckily, there was an ambulance close by and it only took a couple of minutes for it to turn up. In that couple of minutes, maybe 5-6 people walked over. Did they offer to help? No. They just stood there filming the situation on their phones.
The police and ambulance arrived. The ambulance people did their thing, the police took my details and later informed my that he was recovering well.
You have to ask what has happened to basic human compassion.
PEOPLE ACTUALLY STEPPED OVER HIM AND LEFT HIM TO DIE!!!
I can’t walk past people if they are in trouble. Well, I can if the situation is being dealt with; there’s little point in stressing people out by large crowds. Rubbernecking just isn’t my thing.
I don’t crave reward but the weird thing is, I get an almost ‘maternal’ thing going on. Sometimes I like to know they are doing well and sometimes, I’ll even make friends with them after. For example, when I was at Leeds Uni, I helped a number of people after club nights. Too drunk to walk, unaware of what was happening and having been abandoned by friends, I’d make sure they got home safely.
One episode that sticks in my mind is while I was back in Southampton, visiting my partner. I was back for a week – pre-exam chillout – and one evening, he was off teaching Kung Fu and I was meeting friends in town. Unfortunately, I’d left my wallet at home and only had a few quid on me. I had a couple of drinks, had a couple bought for me and began the walk home. When I got to Bevois Valley, I spotted a heap on the pavement on the opposite side of the road to the pubs, between the Dungeon and the Hobbit. There were tears and a strangled voice saying “I don’t know who I am,” repeatedly. Naturally, I wasn’t going to walk past.
I managed to talk to him, get him to stand up and walk him over to a low wall. It was obvious he had taken something, but he was insistent that he hadn’t. While I was in halls, I had been a sub-warden and we’d all had to take courses in ‘drug recognition’. I’d been pretty good at spotting the effects of which drugs were happening to which people and knew how to cope.
This guy had been roofied. To what ends, I don’t know. We talked, once he was aware that he wasn’t on his own, he calmed down, but he still couldn’t remember his name. I did a couple of checks and talked about a couple of things that he enthusiastically agreed with. I then completely changed my opinion and he enthusiastically agreed with that, too. Suggestibility. Not a good sign. Definitely roofies.
By this time was pretty lucid and not looking ill, just the worse for wear and, given the suggestibility, quite vulnerable. I thought I had an option of either getting him back to mine or getting him home. We were always told that the best thing for someone who had been given ‘date-rape’ drugs was to get them home. There was a huge chance they they wouldn’t remember the events of the night before and waking up somewhere unfamiliar might causes, fear, paranoia, etc.. So getting it home it was.
I still hadn’t found out his name, stupidly. I asked if he had a wallet. He did and I looked through it and found out his name. He also didn’t have any money. I told him his name and he suddenly became a lot more relaxed. I asked him if he knew where he lived and it turned out he lived some 20 miles away. Which presented a problem as neither of us had money.
Luckily, I had a friend who worked on the taxis and I phoned her mobile. She didn’t answer. I assume she was on a job. I called her taxi company and asked if she was working. She was, so I asked if they could get her to call me when she was free. A couple of minutes, she called, I told her the situation and she pulled up about 10 minutes later.
We got him into the car and sat in the car park talking.
Having no money presented a problem. Had I got through to my friend on the phone, I could have had the ride for free. She could have said she was having a rest and that would be that. But because I’d contacted her via the office, it was logged as a job and she needed to be paid. She was very apologetic, but I’d have to pay for the job. I mulled over whether I should take this guy back to my partners bedsit but figured waking up with two gay guys might be a bit of a freak out for him.
I offered my phone and iPod as a deposit which was accepted and she wrote me a receipt. The second problem arose. If I went with him, I have to pay for both journeys. One there, one back. If I didn’t go with him, I’d only have to pay one way as she could work her way back with other jobs. My friend offered to drop him off and make sure he got through the front door. I checked with the guy, and he was reluctantly okay with me leaving him with someone else.
Anyway, he got home safely; my friend called me to let me know that much. The morning after, I went to her office in town to retrieve my phone/iPod, pay for the journey, etc.. There was an extra charge for returning my stuff, another for the guy vomiting in the car and the subsequent clean up and over all, it cost me the best part of £100.
He doesn’t remember it. I know that. Turns out we have mutual friends.
I think probably the most annoying thing about the whole scenario is, as I said, that I have a built in Mothering circuit. It’s sort of like reverse ‘imprinting’; maybe an intense ‘first impressions’ thing. I met him when he was vulnerable and feel it my duty to look out for him. Is that weird? It’s probably weird. Is it weird that looking out for people is seen as weird? I just don’t know. The older I get the less I understand people; the less I understand how people work. In some ways, I wish he had an inkling but I know the fact that he doesn’t remember; that he hasn’t a clue who I am; that he’s alive and undamaged, physically or psychologically, means I did my job well.
Fuck the money. Fuck people thinking I’m weird. I helped someone out. That’s reward enough.