Social Question

Blueroses's avatar

Have you ever stopped to help a fellow human or do you avert your gaze?

Asked by Blueroses (17720 points ) February 1st, 2012

I just had to go to a store in a strip mall and there was a person curled up against the wall, apparently passed out, near the door of the State Liquor Store.

People were walking by, glancing and then ignoring.

As I was starting to walk toward the stores, an expensive SUV pulled up near the walk and an older, well-dressed woman jumped out and hurried up to the person asking “Are you alright? Do you need help?”

As it turned out, it was a high school student who collapsed from an asthma attack and it was his bad luck that it happened by the liquor store.

I was ashamed of myself for making the same assumption that others were. I’m glad that there are people in the world who will stop. It made me think hard about myself.

Honestly, what would you have done?

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25 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If it appeared to me a young kid then I might go over there otherwise I don’t approach people I don’t know who are curled up against the walls of liquor stores.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My mom & I came upon almost the exact scene you set above (I was about 15). We just happened to be out for a summer drive downtown. Outside a condo between little stores & the condo entrance, a little elderly lady was down on the sidewalk.

Luckily our windows were open. As we drove by we heard her saying “Help!”. Passerbys on the sidewalk walked over her, completely ignoring her.

My mom slammed on the brakes, jumped out and helped her up. The woman was 90 years old. She estimated that she’d been on the ground for a good half hour before we stopped. My mom sat with her a few moments to be certain she wasn’t in shock, then walked her to her door.

Blackberry's avatar

I helped some old ladies get things off shelves and cross the street, and I bought some homeless people food once. But I’m not Batman.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would help.

There was a situation here a few years ago where an Aboriginal elder passed out on the bus station platform. She was on a bench. People apparently walked passed this lady for a couple of hours. Ignoring her plight. Assuming she was drunk. She wasn’t. I read her account in the newspaper later. She said something to the effect of “I was clean and tidy! Why wouldn’t people stop and help me?” The reason was because people assumed she was a drunk. What an indictment on our society. I wasn’t there but I felt ashamed. I can understand why people behaved as they did, but it gave me a big reminder, you can just never be sure if your assumption is right without checking.

So, if I saw someone passed out on the floor, I think I would stop and at least check the person was okay. Or if I was alone and nervous, phone the police/ambulance or someone to make sure the person got help. Nobody even did that in the situation above.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I have stopped and helped people. I still pick up hitch hikers. When I don’t feel comfortable stopping and helping I will still call 911 and report it.

I might be conditioned to do so by my former occupations, when stopping and helping was my job.

Bellatrix's avatar

@SpatzieLover‘s post reminded me of a situation where my husband and I found a little old lady wandering around the shopping centre. She was totally lost. Obviously had dementia. We took her to the police station because we couldn’t find out where she lived.

We were a bit nervous about putting her in the car in case she had a moment of lucidity and thought she was being abducted, but we couldn’t leave her there. This was a long time ago. Now I would sit with her and call the police to come to us.

CardAngel's avatar

I can’t look away when someone needs help. I hope that if I’m ever in need, someone would help me.

The first time I remember was 27 years ago when I was 19 and had my first car and a job. There was a family sitting on the ground in a parking lot. They were cold, homeless, hungry and desperate. I gave them a ride to a restaurant (they chose Burger King), gave them the $60.00 I had on me and asked if there was anything else I could do. They thanked me profusely. I would have taken them to a homeless shelter with a food and clothing bank if I knew about those kinds of places at the time. I still lived with my parents at the time and they were kind of upset than I may have been scammed but I felt good about what I did.

Once at PharMor pharmacy (hey, remember them?), an elderly gentleman was buying a lot of prescriptions, and products for someone who had an incontinence problem. When the clerk told him the total, he was $30.00 short. He then began trying to figure out what he could eliminate getting for his wife, put his head in his hands and began to cry. I told him I would cover the difference. He wanted my address to send a check to pay me back but I told him not to worry about it. About 2 months later when I went back to that store, the same clerk gave me an envelope. It contained $40.00 and a thank you note from the man. He brought it in hoping I was a regular customer and that the clerk would be able to give it to me. It happened that she knew who I was from me coming in regularly. I was blown away that he did that.

I’ve bought food for people, given money to people who ask for money for food or gas, given my gloves a few times to people (including a Salvation Army bell ringer who forget hers and had to be out all day) on cold days, umbrellas on rainy days, a flashlight when a car broke down on a dark road at night. The broken down car was way before the days of cell phones so I found a payphone and called the guy’s wife for him. She blasted me for calling so late until I got a word in edgewise that her husband’s car was broken down. I’ve helped people who were sick or hurt and needed a ride or a hand to help.

Sure, I may have been scammed a time or two or three but I’d rather help and be thought a fool than let someone who truly needed help go without. If they scammed me, that’s on them, and they will get what’s coming to them someday. Those that ask if they can repay me, I tell them to help someone else someday.

Now that I’m disabled and on the verge of homelessness myself, I can’t do as much as I would like but I would still help anyone however I could.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I often rush in where angels fear to tread. Not sure why. Call it a fault… and sometimes you can call it “the concealed carry intervention reflex.” : )

Ron_C's avatar

I’ve done a pretty good number of things to help people in trouble. I was a volunteer drug and alcohol counselor for a while. I’ve helped change tires in the snow. I even give the guys that wash your windshield at traffic lights a buck or so.

I even risked my life getting a woman out of her overturned car that was leaking gas.

Blueroses's avatar

I’m very thankful there are people like all of you. I’ve done things to help and I’ve been helped by strangers and I think I’m a basically good person but, today, I almost made a judgement error that could have meant the life of a person. A lesson in humility for me.

I want to think that I won’t judge again. I think it probably will depend on the environment and whether or not I’m alone.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Blueroses I was raised in a tavern. People often judge others by where they are or who they hang out with. It’s human nature. Often, first impressions are not accurate.

Over the years, I’ve seen and helped people when they: had a seizure, choked, fell, had a stroke, were being ignored due to a handicap or their race…the list goes on. In many of these cases, there were a multitude of people around, but only myself or a family member/friend stepped in and helped or stuck a neck out.

Maybe I tend to be an act now judge later type person? My dad volunteered with our local fire dept for a few decades. Also, my dad was known as the town drunk (not my choice of words ;)
Clearly both influence my compulsion to help.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Back in my younger days (before cell phones) I would stop to help anyone on the side of the road – and at all hours. However, before I left my car I would remove my wallet and also do a mental check of my “hardware” – safety off. I never, ever, wanted to be caught off guard.
I helped a lot of people and never had a problem.

digitalimpression's avatar

I would have done the same as you did.

I stopped to give a guy some food one time in San Diego and he got very upset and demanded money instead…

SuperMouse's avatar

I would more then likely help. The only case where I would probably stay away would be if I was by myself and it was a seemingly able bodied man, then I would more then likely find help rather then jump in myself. Since I met and began hanging out with my husband, my attitude about these things has changed considerably. It blows my mind how many people walk by and avert their eyes when they see someone struggling and it warms my heart when the very few who decide to stop offer to help.

@LuckyGuy on behalf of all those stranded motorists I say thank you. Back in California, every single time I got stuck in the middle of the road with a dead engine, someone stopped and helped me get to the side. I drove my share of beaters so it was happened fairly regularly. Oddly enough, the one time it has happened here in America’s Heartland, all I got was honking, nasty looks, and shouted epithets.

Coloma's avatar

Of course. There but for the grace of god go us all.
When you turn your back on your fellow man you turn your back on yourself as well. The other day I parked next to a dumpster compound near a grocery store. It was so sad. A starving black lab with a bloody eye was scavenging through the trash on the ground. It was so scared it cowered and growled at me, then ran off and disappeared. Boo hoo!

I could tell lots of stories but am a firm believer in not self aggrandizing our good deeds.
Just do what’s right and keep it to yourself. :-)

CardAngel's avatar

@Coloma, Do my stories come across as self-aggrandizement? I was just sharing, not trying to brag at all. I hope I’m not misreading you. I am very weepy and fragile today. My eviction is coming within the next 2 weeks.

I have animal stories as well, but those are somehow harder to tell, you know?

Coloma's avatar

@CardAngel No, not at all. Just commenting on my personal thoughts.

I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. Hang in there! :-)

Mariah's avatar

I like to think I’d help, but fear of putting myself in danger often stops me. As a very small person I am pretty jumpy when out by myself in public, and I have to admit that I too probably would not have approached the person in the situation you described. Sometimes in these situations it’s hard to find a balance between what your sense of personal safety says you should do and what your conscience says you must.

Blueroses's avatar

@CardAngel No! I don’t think anyone would say you were self-aggrandizing. I really hope that what you’ve put out, comes back to you… and soon.

CardAngel's avatar

@Coloma, Thanks. I knew I was too emotional to be guessing what meant. I’m still holding out hope!

CardAngel's avatar

@Blueroses, Thank you. me too

Doing good is its own reward.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Mariah There can sometimes be a fine line between putting yourself in danger and helping. Personally, I am more apt to help when I am alone, as I am only responsible for myself in those situations.

When I am with kids or others, I tend to call the police or medics more. There is no shame in calling the professionals for help if you don’t feel comfortable jumping into a situation. The shame comes when you totally ignore the situation and let a person in need fend for themselves.

cookieman's avatar

I generally look to help.

I’ve pulled over to help stranded motorists. I bolted out of my house when I heard a car crash to see if I could help.

One time, my next door neighbor’s daughter was getting smacked around by her then boyfriend in their driveway. We heard the yelling. My wife and I went over immediately to break it up. My wife shuffled her away while I got in his face.

As a teacher, I’ve busted up fights, helped kids who were cutting themselves, and got a knife pulled on me once.

We’re here to help each other. Plain and simple. If not you, then who?

WestRiverrat's avatar

The reason I don’t stop to help unless I am carrying.

LuckyGuy's avatar

That is too sad. How about the following compromise:

Pull up behind and get a description of the vehicle. Back up a short distance and call 911 with the description then move forward and ask if they need help. (with the safety off.)

.

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