Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Kind of Person Are You?

I was reading a post on Lailani Ali's blog the other day and it got me to thinking so I decided to write my own post about it.

She was talking about driving by Venice Beach one day and witnessing a guy writhing around in a planter on the street. Many people walked or drove passed this guy and no one seemed to offer assitance. Many people probably dismissed him as being drunk or high and went on about their business.

Lailani wondered whether or not to help.

I think that is a moral dilemma we all either have had to deal with at one time or most likely will in the future.

Are we as a people so jaded by society's ills that we can not stop to help someone that may be in need? Are we too concerned with our one safety that we can not make the time to make sure a fellow man is OK? That helping hand could mean the difference between life and death.

I had to sit back and think to myself whether or not I would in fact help if I was presented with such a situation. Would I stop and help someone in need?

I would like to think I am that person. I would like to think I would lend a much needed helping hand. The truth of the matter is that I am a squeamish scardy cat who runs at the first sight of trouble. Here are a couple of examples.

My father was in the hospital once and a bunch of us were sitting in his room. He had just come out of surgery so he looked a hot mess. He started coughing violently and I instinctively jumped up to run but my aunt quick as a flash grabbed me and pulled me back down.

I was away for the weekend with an old boyfriend one time and we were at breakfast. A few minutes into the meal a gentleman across from us began to slouch over in his seat. His wife/companion began screaming for someone to help. I, again, instinctively jumped up and bolted for the front door out of fear.

I know I am not good in situations like that and I own that which makes this whole subject matter pretty deep for me.

Would I have the wherewithal to help a stranger in need? What would you do in a situation where a stranger needed your help?

15 People saying stuff:

B said...

20/20 (I think it was that show) did a series on situations like this. It was amazing and sad to see how few people stopped to offer help in the various situations but at the sametime, I don't think any of us know what we would do until WE were in that situation.

If something was happening in a public place I'd like to think I'd offer help or atleast put in a call to 911. Now if I were driving along and saw someone stranded on the side of the road, sorry but I read and watch too much crime books/shows to stop and offer help.

Actually, my boss is like you in situations where someone needs help. Someone at work needed 911 called and he just froze. Not everyone can handle the stress, shock and pressure.

Jeni said...

There are various ways one can come to the rescue I think -and it doesn't always have to be that the person is directly involved either in that process. Also, as another reader here stated, some people just freeze up in an emergency too.
But I'd like to think that when there's a need for help, I could survey the situation enough to know if my knowledge and abilities would be adequate to help rather than hinder or do harm and proceed from that point then. d

Tonya said...

I think I would be more willing to help a kid out then another adult. I'm like you though I freak out at the first sign of trouble. Though I don't run I just freeze.

JStar said...

I prob wouldnt have earlier in my life...Almost like a homeless person asking for money...We think they are going to buy drugs so we dont give...Until I was homeless and hungry...I would help now :)

The Dish said...

The Husband would, but he has the medical knowledge to do so. Since I do not, I would like to think that I would at least check to see if I needed to paramedics. I think the surroundings would come into play for me too. Dark alley at night and me by myself? Probably not so much. There are some sick people in this world.

Senorita said...

It's hard to really say unless you've been in a situation like that.

Last year on my way home I witnessed a horrific car accident, where people were seriously injured. I froze for about 10 seconds and did nothing. Then I jumped out of my car and went over to the other car that didn't have anyone there since a bunch of people went to assist the person who was seriously hurt.

Looking back, someone would have helped if I weren't there since there were people there that did get out and help.

But it's nice to know that in a sitation like that I would help.

As for helping someone when I am alone at night, I probably wouldn't (other than calling 911)because I am not putting myself out there and risking an attack.

Lailani Ali said...

I'm torn in two directions by this dilemma. One direction is- I can't help everybody all the time. I run a nonprofit, I volunteer, I speak with the homeless who choose to speak to me. I do enough without having to step in and put myself in danger when I see someone who is probably out of his mind, in some kind of pain. Or was it just a bad trip?

The other direction I'm torn in- no matter what this person is going through, he is human. He is having an obviously traumatic experience and he is alone and right in front of me. It is not in my human nature to ignore this.

My guideline that I put in place for myself in these situations is just to be safe about it. Like the time I found a guy passed out and shaking on the side of the road in my neighborhood. I called to him from my car, waited for a reaction. When I got none, I grabbed my roommates and went back out there. Called 911 and waited together until an ambulance showed up.

When I saw this guy the other day, I waited a few minutes, stopped in my car. Ready to grab a couple of passers-by if it went on much longer and ask if he required assistance.

I come from a medical family. I'm used to seeing people jump directly INTO, rather than OUT of emergency situations. I'm like a robot on auto-drive in emergencies. Spitting out directions and providing whatever assistance I can.

Then. Right after it's all taken care of. I freak out. Cry and shake. We all handle life differently. I'd love to find some kind of balance in my reactions.

Vi said...

In the pub one time, there was this guy sitting outside, and one of the punters just said 'is this guy ok? I looked out the window to find him slumped over the table. I went running outside with the punter, this guy was lying there with his eyes wide open. 'Oh my god, he's dead.' the punter said. I just ran straight into the pub, yelled out to the owner in the kitchen there was a dead guy out the back, and immediatly ran the paramedics. While on the phone they are asking me how I knew he was dead. His eyes are open, and he's unconsious was my reply. Next thing you know I had the owner come running in...'what are you talking about, he's up and talking!' It was some sort of a black out. He said to cancel the ambulance. I just ran straight to the phone, didn't even bothering checking his pulse or anything, I was scared shitless, I didn't want to touch him. I needed a stiff drink after thinking I'd seen my first dead man!

Karen said...

I think I am the exact opposite of you. I like put myself in the middle of any/all interesting things. Fights, sick people, blood, accidents - I am there being nosy and trying to help.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes even if we want to help someone, the personal risk level prohibits it from happening.


Moooooog35 said...

I would fly in from wherever I was in the world and whisk that person to safety using my super strength and, if needed, my heat vision.

In this scenario, I'm a superhero.

You didn't say it needed to be true.

laughingattheslut said...

I do not have any medical knowledge.

I would not stop to help anyone if I was alone.

I would not stop to help anyone if the other person with me was my mother, my sister, a friend with her baby, etc.... If the other person with me was my husband, he would decide. The person needing help might be a crazy person, and he has had practice dealing with crazy people.

If I were in a big group, the main big group I would be with would probably stop and help the guy, even if I was pretty sure that the guy was crazy and that stopping was a bad idea.

As for just dialing 911, I would have to think about it a while, cause I don't want to be the one calling in a false report and wasting an ambulance that was needed elsewhere.

Red Shoes said...

I don't know... I guess it would depend on what risk that my intervention would pose to me...

I guess its a function of what information I have about the situation... but in the day of cell phones, 911 is always an option...


Amber said...

I was going to mention what "B" did--about the 20/20 show. In all of the situations they listed, I would have done something about it.

Mostly because I'm nosy, bossy and just can't stand people being pushed around.

Just telling it like it is said...

I'm thinking as long as I didn't feel like the person would kill me...I would stop and help or at least call 911