A Day In The Life

Who Is My Neighbor?
May 13, 2007, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Odds and Ends

Most of you are probably familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan.  For those of you who aren’t, here is a brief synopsis.  A man was traveling down a road when he ran into some unsavory characters who stripped him, beat him, robbed him and left him for dead in a ditch.  Later, a priest came down the road and when he saw the sorely injured man, the priest crossed to other side of the road and went on his way.  Next, a judge passed by and likewise left the poor injured man to his fate.  Finally, a Samaritan came down the road.  When the Samaritan saw the man in the ditch he took pity on him and rescued him. 

I’ve heard this biblical parable my whole life.  Off and on throughout the years, I’ve often wondered if I were in a similar situation would I have the courage to help or would I choose to stay uninvolved?  We’ve all heard or read news reports where people were beaten, shot or otherwise injured while witnesses just stood by and watched.  Likewise, we’ve heard about people who did try to help and sometimes lost their lives or became injured in the process. 

I’ve had a Good Samaritan-type event in my life.  It occurred while I was living in Roanoke, Virginia.  I was driving up the steep hill to my apartment complex on a very hot summer day when I noticed a person laying on the sidewalk in the blistering sun.  I saw the person and I kept on driving, but I didn’t go far before I decided to back up and check the situation out.  I am so thankful that I did.  It turned out that the person on the sidewalk was an elderly woman.  She had walked to a nearby K-Mart and on her way home, she tripped and fell, then couldn’t get back up.  By her estimation, she had been laying in the sun for about 30 minutes.  She told me that she had counted 8 vehicles drive by while she lay bruised and bleeding in the heat. 

I probably did a lot of things wrong while trying to help the woman.  I checked as best I could for broken bones and she didn’t seem to have any.  She was quite lucid and talked to me the entire time I was rescuing her.  Basically, she just needed help getting back on her feet.  She had some scrapes that were bleeding and she had already started to bruise in a couple of places.  I got her up and in my car while she directed me to her home in the same apartment complex that I lived in.  She didn’t want me to call an ambulance, but she did ask me to call her daughter which I did then I called an ambulance anyway. 

The story had a good ending.  The elderly lady was fine.  I stopped in to see her occasionally for the rest of the time I lived in Roanoke.   But for months after the incident, I was haunted with the thought of being the ninth vehicle to pass by that woman on the sidewalk.  I can’t tell you what I was thinking as I looked at the body by the side of the road and drove on.  I’m not sure what made me decide to stop and back up.  I’m not a particularly brave person.  I have only rudimentary first aid skills and, like most people, I am leary of strangers.  Eventually, I forgave myself for not stopping immediately.  The point was that I did stop and maybe, just maybe, I saved that woman’s life.  I will never consider myself a hero, but I do believe that I am a very good neighbor.


9 Comments so far
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sometimes it takes our brain just a little while to work out what we saw and what to do about it.

Comment by Pamela

At least you stopped.

However, I know someone who did stop to help someone that was lying on the street – and they ended up getting stabbed 4 times as a result of it…(he’s okay now)…so, what do you do? – I say, you still stop – because the person may really be in need.

Comment by Karmyn R

I am so glad you stopped.. it made my heart ache just hearing your story. That poor woman lay there while all those people passed her by! I cannot imagine if that was my mother.. You stopped and you helped her and that is what really matters! If you want to believe it or not you are a hero to that lady!!

Comment by Tonya

Oh I am so glad you stopped. I’m a stopper. 🙂 I never know what to do when I stop but I stop. The last time we, McD & I, stopped was when we saw a car wreck on our dirt road. We stopped and got out to find 3 teenagers joy riding. They lost control and almost flipped the vehicle. They were all okay, just bumped, bruised and scratched up a bit. We called 911 and then left when the ambulance arrived.

I will have a Good Samaritian story this week. Thanks for posting this. It brought back some good memories.

Comment by Julie

I like to believe that I would have stopped, but I think it would depend on where I was at the time. Here at home, I would stop, but in a much larger town, I don’t know…….

Comment by Betty

It’s good to hear your story. There was a day when I stopped in a heartbeat, but now I don’t know. About three years ago this last winter, my son and I were on the road late at night en route to Southern Indiana. We saw a car in the ditch and stopped to help. It turned out to be an older man who was completely disoriented because he had not had his medication. We called the police and gave them the mile marker, then moved the man into my car. Luckily the police officer knew the man and was able to get him home. When I look back on this, we were very lucky. It was pitch black on a desolate stretch of road. I would like to think I would do the same again, but I honestly don’t know if that would be the best idea – especially in this day and age of cell phones.

Comment by gawilli

I disagree…I think you are a hero. And I’m willing to bet that lady considers you her hero (or at least an angel) as well

Comment by Susan

While living in our last neighborhood we had an attic fire. It was incredibly scary and I was in awe when our next door neighbors and one of our neighbors across the street ran into our house with hoses and helped Philip try to save our house from total ruin. Maybe they shouldn’t have, because that’s dangerous.

One of our other neighbors, instead of helping us, video taped it. He later mentioned how stupid it was of anyone to run into a burning house.

The firemen who put out the fire admitted that if Philip and our neighbors had not done what they did we probably would have lost the whole house.

After that I realized that no matter how much it might scare me to help I want to be like my neighbors who didn’t worry for their own safety in my hour of urgent need because they made a very scary experience so much better.

Comment by Angelina

I tend to think your tendency to stop is partially due to the fact that you are a strong Southern woman, with good sense and strong values…and a big heart!

Comment by Tiggerlane

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