There I was, walking home and minding my own business when I saw an elderly gent lying flat on the cold icy ground trying to get up. Instinctively I ran over to him giving no thought for my own safety in these recent treacherous weather conditions; which I’m sure is what most people would do right? I bent down and asked if he was alright. A stupid thing to say especially as you already know that the person your asking is far from dandy; but you say it anyway.
He looked up at me and said, “Do I look alright?” There, he proved my point. Red faced and stinking of booze, it was apparent that he’d had an afternoon tipple or two, it smelt to me like he drank the pub dry. My sympathy stopped right there and I said, “You look alright to me”! Still, I couldn’t leave him and I asked if he wanted me to help him up. “Do I look like I need help?” was his slurred reply.
I was getting nowhere with this fella, stubborn as a mule and pissed as a fart! I was in more trouble than he was, my conscience was telling me to stay by his side, you know that voice in your head that tells you how guilty you will feel if you don’t do the right thing. Lucky or not so lucky depending on how you look at it, I’ve seen this kind of thing before so I knew that with all that drink in him he probably didn’t feel the fall no sense no feeling, all that malt would have warmed him up a treat and judging by his beetroot complexion he needed cooling off!
So I walked. Do I feel bad? Not really, but I do hope he’s alright…I sincerely do. I tried my best and that’s all anyone can do…isn’t it? Some people just don’t want to be helped, maybe he was proud as well as paralytic, he was of an age where he wouldn’t want someone younger and a woman to boot to help him. Perhaps the white van man who watched all this as he got out of his rust bucket should have helped ME. Hmmm…
So should we go out of our way to help? Is it going out of our way or just part of life’s journey, something we all have to experience? You won’t know how you will act until the moment shows itself, your safety above all else should be your primary thought if possible. I have come across many who use help as a guise in order to gain something for themselves; I see it daily and it’s something I can’t get my head around.
Is it your business to help? Make it your business; if you’re not wanted the drunken fool will tell you.
© Michelle Sotiriou 2013
“Everyman must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness”
Martin Luther King Jr.