Nobody Saw Nick… Or Did They?
Picture this… It’s 94F/34C degrees and quite humid. There is an old man walking and struggling to do so and it appears that he is trying to flag down passing vehicles for help.
I am riding my bike on the opposite side of the road, approaching him. I notice that there is a police officer with his radar gun in hand, trying to catch motorists speeding in the same direction I am going in. On the same side as the old man, a church service just finished and the congregation is exiting quickly… all passing by this old man.
It was obvious to me that no one else saw this man and if they did, they were not compelled to stop. So I navigated through the traffic and made it over to him.
His name was Nick and he wasn’t doing too well. He was 79 years old and had been in a car accident a month or two ago and was only released from the hospital 2 weeks ago. He was on his way to the doctors and became disoriented. I gave him my bottle of Gatorade to drink and showed him the police officer on the other side of the road. We walked over and I let the cop know about the situation.
"What do you want me to do?" said the cop.
I showed him the side of his police cruiser that said "To Serve and Protect".
He didn’t seem overly impressed with that and even less enthusiastic about helping Nick. So I told Nick to have a seat right on the hood of his police cruiser and I would ride my bike home, get my car and then take him wherever he needed to go.
I left him sitting on the car, with a protesting police officer. As I’m speeding home, I’m wondering if this cop will let him sit in the air conditioned car, give him a ride or just leave him there and take off.
I get my car and head back… As I approach, I see the police cruiser, but no Nick. I pull up and ask the cop what happened to the old man? He says that he started walking and pointed down the road. Very nice… I took his name and badge number, because his superiors will be hearing about this. I make my way down the road and there is Nick, stumbling and staggering, almost info traffic. I pull up beside him and he recognizes me, which is a good thing. I get him in the car and we head for his doctors office. We get there and they were expecting him hours prior, but I let them know what happened and they stop complaining and threatening late fees for missing his appointment time. Other than heat exhaustion, blisters on his feet and elevated blood pressure, Nick was going to be ok. He thanked me and shook my hand for 5 minutes and I was on my way. The doctors office said they would call a taxi for him to get home and I left my card with them just in case that didn’t work out.
So many things went wrong here… I know we aren’t supposed to pick up hitchhikers, but how come no passers-by called the police or someone about an old man staggering on the road. How come the church folk drove right by Nick, like he didn’t exist. Isn’t that what church is all about… Helping each other? And the police officer, too busy with trying to give out tickets, rather than help an old man in need. It was a sad scene. That old guy could have been my Dad or a friends Dad… This is surely not the way things are supposed to be.
If someone needs help… Please help them. Because it could be you or someone you care about, the next time.