On Sunday afternoon we were driving from our house to have a pizza in Tygervalley.
Kids were chatting, Kennith was driving. Really busy main road. I was staring out the window in the normal spaced out way I usually do. I stare at the leaves. I stare at the road signs. I sometimes add the numbers on the buildings.
I just stare, but it is not in a totally blank way.
My problem is that I do take in way too much stimuli and information, and it often leads to a bit of a brain melt down. But that is another story.
We were on Tygervalley main road, I saw a guy lying on the pavement, odd, but not that unusual. Sometimes people need to have a little lie down and the pavement is as good a place as any. It happens.
I noticed the guy was lying down, but he had a crutch and it looked like he was trying to push himself up. The crutch just slipped and slipped as he tried to push his weight on it.
He was flat on his stomach, sort of spread eagled, and he had something around his neck, and he was struggling to get up.
I am funny about details. I can pick up small bits of things at a glance. Occupational hazard.
I know this does not look right. I have no idea what is going on. The temperature is around 35 degrees. It was too hot for a lie down on a hot stretch of tar.
All I can think is this guy can’t get up. He is lying on the pavement. He has a crutch, which means he must have some sort of injury to begin with.W
e can’t just leave him, and hope the next person helps him.
I yell for Kennith to stop.
Kennith looks in the rearview mirror and makes a judgement, which really was not an incorrect perception based on what we often see. But I disagreed. I felt what ever was happening there, there was a man in distress, lying on the pavement, and there we were all driving past and no one was helping him.
I suggested again, that we should stop and go and help this man.
I do take into consideration we are on a main road, there is little to no pull over space, we have three kids in the car, we have no way of asessessing what is actually going on here, and what the risks are and what we are involving ourselves in.
We stop the car in the safest spot we could find. Kennith walks/jogs back to the spot.
I am so glad we did.
It turned out the guy could not walk without his crutch – he appeared to have a spinal issue rather than a limp. He had a really heavy bag that he had got itself wrapped around his neck, so he could not get up. He was also deaf and mute, so could not call out for help. Not a good situation.
Yes, it could have quite easily been an inebriated person at the side of the road, having a little lie down on the pavement.
It could have been. But it wasn’t.
I do think that we look away, we avert our eyes, and in so doing protect ourselves from the pure onslaught of the masses that need our help.
So what it our help is sometimes misdirected.
We give some money and some food to a person who might be, I don’t know, not as poor and needy as we think. So what. My guess is they have a lot less than you.
Every now and then buy a can of coke, and the next stoplight you get to hand it to the guy begging. Imagine how great it is if someone gives you an ice-cold cool drink when you are exhausted and at the end of your tether. How cool is that? If it is a really hot day, I buy a coke for the PnP teller or the person who packs my bags at PnP or the guy that pushes my trolley.
Its a coke, the cost barely is an issue for me – however do come back to me on the 20th of the month, when I cannot buy a tube of wine gums – but my guess is the person I give a coke to probably needs it a bit more than me. But when I can I buy some stranger a coke, or tip the guy who helps me unpack my groceries R10.00 – because today I can.
I don’t know what everyone’s story is.
And no, I am not the Good Samaritan. I do not plan on going around and doing good works all day, but maybe if all of us maybe looked around a bit for, and did some small stuff.
Life would be a bit easier for the next person, and the cost to you is barely noticeable.
A few weeks ago, I stopped at a PnP that I do not normally go to. I stopped in to grab something. The guy standing in front of me was paying for what appeared to be bare necessities, oil, nappies, some mince and a few other odds and sods. Really basic stuff. The teller got to the end and she said “It was XYZ cost…” the guy clearly did not have enough money, so took out one of the items.
You could see it was not a luxury he was choosing to not get, it was a necessity he could not afford. I stood there and let him put the item on the side. Then I just thought, that item has little value to me, but clearly to him, it has a different value. Isaid “It’s okay, take the XXX, I will get it this time,” and I handed the money he was short to the teller so he could buy the item.
You know, the amount had little to no value to me. I did not know him. I probably will not know him if he walked past me tomorrow. But maybe for a moment there he thought, hey, today is not as shit as I thought it was. Maybe.
Anyway, that is my story.