Sunday, May 26, 2013

Episode 82: The Kindness of Strangers

I am at my favorite stand at the farmer's market, looking at cucumbers, having just wrapped up some red onions that were bigger than my hand, when out of nowhere, I get body checked, hard on my shoulder.  I turn around to see who is attacking me, wondering if I was in the way and they just didn't see me.  My apology turn to mock rage as I scream "Bitch!" at the person who ran into me.  It's my sister, and she's laughing at my response.  She and her family have arrived just as we are getting ready to leave.  We decide to stay with them and enjoy the presence of her, Thing One, Thing Two and their older brother and her husband.

We get to the stand where the fruit is sold and stand discussing the myriad sweet delights, when from behind us we hear an unmistakable thud, and turn to see a tall, thin man has fallen over at our feet. Both of us, shocked, reach for him to see if there is anything we can do to help and if he is all right.  A  heavier set woman, his mother we are to learn, brushes us away and order us to stand back, that he is having a seizure.  Her son then begins to convulse, and we are stunned as his muscles spasm and his body clenches.  My stomach drops immediately and my system begins panic mode.

"Call 911" his mother demands, and my sister pulls out her cell phone.  Immediately, she is on the phone with the dispatcher, and the woman turns to me and shoots numbers at me, telling me to call her husband.  I don't know how I did it, but my body and my brain seemed to respond better than my emotions because I pull out my phone and immediately dial the numbers I have only heard once.  I can NEVER do that, but I did.  The call connects and I hand the phone to the woman, who directs her husband to where she and her son are.  Then, from around us, other kind strangers immediately show up to help.  A man who has experience tells us not to move the seizing man, who we learn later is named Thomas, a who has only had one previous seizure 5 years prior and has severe autism. A nearby vendor brings a mat for him to put his head on.  Another vendor from the other side brings a stool for the woman to sit on. AM goes to flag down the ambulance and clear the aisle so that paramedics can reach the man safely and effectively.  All of these motions around me happened quickly, fluidly, and it was only after that my body's shock wore off and I felt my tears well up from sudden emotional overload.

It is times like these, when the emergency and danger has passed, that I step back and marvel at the wonder that is the rest of the human race.  I didn't panic, nor did the people around me. You often hear stories about emergencies where people go into hysterics, but I saw none of that.  People were calm and were willing to help out immediately as was needed, or to get the hell out of the way when they weren't. People are kind and caring, not because they will get something out of it, but because other people need help.  We were, and the vendors and customers, were willing to help this woman and her son.  Thomas eventually came out of his seizure to find strangers over him, talking to him carefully. He can't respond verbally, but only nods his head, and people around him continue to talk in soothing voices to him and his mother, who stays on my sister's phone until the paramedics arrive.  These people didn't know Thomas or his mother, they didn't have any connection to them, but when they were needed, they were willing to help in any way that they could.

Some may call this heroism, some may call it bravery. I think it just what becomes of being a decent human being.  Every decent human being should be willing to help their fellow man.  Today gave me hope that there are people out there who are still decent human beings.

I don't pray, but I hope that Thomas, and his mother, are doing well. I send healing thoughts and caring out through the universe.

Love and Lollipops,


1 comment:

  1. What an amazing, wonderful story! It revives my faith in humanity.


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