Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
When I was on my walk yesterday I encountered an old-lady who had fallen on the side walk. She was sitting on the ground halfway between Lake Street and 31st Street on Bryant Avenue, just a few houses away from her home, maybe fifty yards at most, but she was unable to get up on her own.
I noticed her just as soon as I crossed the street. When I got closer, she was looking at me, and though she didn’t say anything I could tell that she needed help. I stopped to ask her if she did.
She told me she had fallen, and I could see that she was scraped up, her knuckles were skinned and there was a little blood. There was a hematoma forming above her right eye at the temple, quite a good sized knot, quarter-sized in diameter and raised up just as much.
I asked her if she wanted me to call 911 for her, but she told me she lived just a few houses away. She could see her dog, a little brown haired malamute looking mutt, who was watching her from the yard.
I could see him too.
Her name is Susan and she told me that she had been sitting on the sidewalk unable to get up for about ten minutes while people passed by her, walked around her, and nobody offered to help. I saw that with my own eyes as I was approaching her. I watched a younger couple cross the street rather than come near her.
She told me that she is eighty years old, and that she had been living on the block for fifty years with her eighty-two year old husband. She was slightly in shock and she was crying as I helped her to her feet and walked her to her house.
I carried her bag and held her hand as we went, and I stayed with her until her husband came to the door.
I have to admit that I could understand and even empathize with anyone who had some trepidation about approaching her. While I was closing the distance between the corner of Lake and Bryant to where she was sitting on the sidewalk, I asked myself some questions, and considered some possibilities:
1. I had to ask myself if I wanted to come in contact with her because of COVID, I was masked but she was not.
2. I had to wonder if she was just a crazy person, because there are many of them around, and if that was the case, how would I be able to help.
3. I had to wonder if it was some kind of grift going on, if she wasn’t going to try to scam me.
4. I had to wonder if it wasn’t some kind of prelude to a mugging, because, well there has been a lot of that going on (though it didn’t seem likely).
I get it, there are lots of reasons to be wary, but what a sad commentary it is on the world we live in, on my city and my neighborhood that people would pass on old-lady by and not even ask her whether she needs help.
She cried all the way back to her house.
I am ashamed of America, if that kind of indifference is what passes for normal…what the hell.
Set your fears aside and do the right thing, if you see someone in trouble, young or old, if you see that they need help...help them.