Monday, December 01, 2014

Walk on by?

All seemed quiet as we left the restaurant on Saturday night but as we looked down the street on the opposite side of the road we could see two men leaning over a motionless body on the pavement.
It wasn't clear whether they were helping him or were responsible for him being there. What was clear was that they appeared to be the worse for drink.

Suddenly one of them, in a curious fancy dress of an American cop set off swiftly up town.  As he passed us on the other side of the street I called out.

'You aren't just going to leave him there are you?'

He glared at me and said he was going to get the police.  This didn't make sense as the station is a good half mile away.
'Are you sure,' I asked?
More glares and he continued up the street.

There was a taxi driver who had just pulled up so I crossed the road and asked him if he could phone the police.  He told me that wasn't in his remit and drove off.

We went to the injured man who was now coming round and clearly had a bashed eye.  The other chap was trying to get him up and the victim was struggling against him.  I was suggesting it was better to let him lie preferably on his side as it wasn't clear how injured he was.
  Neither of them were taking any notice and continued struggling with each other.

It seems there is a community police man around on a Saturday night which the man I challenged must have known about so I was wrong to doubt him.  We were very relieved when he returned with
said police man.

Before I had time to apologise he berated me and told me to NEVER question his intent again (or words to that effect.)

I did humbly apologise for doubting him and explained that during this last year there had been a similar happening in Minehead and the victim had died alone in the street.  I was afraid that could have happened again.
An ambulance was called,  the 'American cop' and I shook hands and as we were leaving- to my astonishment he gave me a hug.

We saw the ambulance arrive as we continued home.

I do regret doubting the chap; it's the sort of happening I'm not very experienced in.  My children think I should not get involved.

What do you think?

31 comments:

Granny Annie said...

Well it is a conundrum. If we get involved things could go badly for us. On the other hand, if we don't get involved, things could go badly for others. Glad you got a well deserved hug.

Guyana-Gyal said...

My mother (all the way in Florida) warns me all the time to keep out of things. It's because she worries for me. So I see why your children warn you. Sometimes, I listen. But at other times, I just can't help myself. So I see why you're asking.

As Granny Annie says, it is a conundrum.


Kim Ayres said...

I don't think you can give a blanket answer for all circumstances. These things require a judgement call at the time, based on how serious you judge the situation to be and how vulnerable you are feeling.

I think many in your situation would have walked on, but it's a testament to the extraordinary woman you are that you decided to get involved.

You deserved the hug :)

johng1962 said...

Knowing the end result, I agree with Kim, but I would advise caution in situations like that!

I'm very proud of you, though!! xxx

Exile on Pain Street said...

I'm glad for the happy ending. I am ashamed to admit that all the while reading this, I thought to myself, "Why is she getting involved." It's not completely irrational. You could have gotten hurt. Can't have that. We need you.

FrenchSon said...


Sounds like it might be a case of people on MDMA ... be careful!

Pat said...

Granny Annie: yes it is a difficult one. I may have behaved differently if I had been alone. But I doubt it.

John: awww - that's really nice of you.

GG: a number of times I have had that experience when you just have to do something.

Kim: thank you:) True I wasn't feeling vulnerable but then I had had a good dinner and 2 glasses of wine.

Exile: you have to remember this isn't New York city. I doubt I'd do it there - but this is Minehead where my parents used to visit and all the grand children played
I have strong proprietal feelings about this little town and would hate to have its name sullied.

Pat said...

French son: I had to google that. Oh do you think so?
It wasn't my fatal charm then:)

angryparsnip said...

I agree you have to be careful now a days, what a sad statement. But I would have done something also. Even if it was only to stand in the doorway and call the police.
There was just the other day in Germany a young woman stopped some men from hassling a two young women.
Later outside one came back and hit her in the head and she died.
So I understand why your Children were upset.

cheers, parsnip

AndrewM said...

You (meaning you) shouldn't get involved. If in doubt, call the cops. That's their job.

Pat said...

Parsnip: what a horrible thing to happen. One always thinks it couldn't happen here. I was lucky.

AndrewM: yes love.

Mike and Ann said...

I think you did the absolutely right thing, Pat. I know Ann would have done the same, and so would I (I know it is easier for a man). I think we have the best possible reference for NOT 'passing by on the other side'.
Warm regards, Mike and Ann.

Pat said...

Mike and Ann: thanks Mike but I think it can be harder for a man because he is more likely to be bashed. Alastair once went to the aid of a barmaid who was being harassed and as a result he lost a tooth. Before my time I may say. Or at least before we were reunited.

Mage said...

If you don't do something, you are not being true to yourself. Glad you did. :)

Pat said...

Mage: thank you:)

SDC said...

It was brave yes, but I see you as a brave woman anyway. I've intervened at times in spite of fear, walked past when alarm bells went off in my head and depending on the situation, moved on indifferently without a backward glance. You lent well intended concern and it was the right thing to do. The next one might require you to move on quickly. Choose your battles I guess is what I'm saying.

The only thing that bothers me is that man demanding that you never question his intent. I don't know any men who would talk to another man that way, so it struck me as a gendered comment. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

giveitanothergo said...

That's a hard one. I have stopped on more than one occasion to help someone who has fallen over or is laying in the road and called 999, I have also walked past a situation and rang 999 from a distance hanging around until the police or ambulance as tuned up then gone back to give details of what I had seen.
I think you have to use your instinct and assess the situation at the time.
It's all too easy to walk past, but I always think that could be someone I love in need of help, and I would want someone to help them.

Helen

Pat said...

SDC: I think you are right-on both points. There was a moment when I'm sure he thought how dare this bossy woman doubt me but when he realised my apology was sincere that vanished - and then I could have been his auntie.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Following your immediate humane instincts I guess could have dire effects, but....I think you did the right thing Pat, and your caring heart will always guide you, even in the face of possible danger.....
I love that the 'American Cop' ended up hugging you---some recognition by him of your heart being in the right place.....I say Brava to you, my dear!

Pat said...

Helen: that's good sound sense Helen - as I would expect from you.

Naomi: yes I must admit I quite enjoyed my hug:)

LL Cool Joe said...

If I'd been in your situation I think I would have found someone else before I approached the men. As a dj I've handled quite a few drunk men and it's never fun.

Pat said...

Joey: I wasn't alone ; I had my son and DIL with me. It was my call but; they were watching my back as it were.

Z said...

Looking at you and looking at the taxi driver, how can anyone say that he was right and you weren't? Not within his remit - what, as a human being? You did the kind and compassionate thing and I'm not surprised at all, Pat.

rashbre said...

Tricky. Especially if in a boozy area. A time when mobile phones are also useful.

Pat said...

Zoe: thanks Zoe - I'll try to live up to your kind opinion.

Rashbre: like a lot of people my age I am not very good with mobiles although I do try to have it with me and charged. Must try harder:)

Ponita in Real Life said...

Once a nurse, always a nurse, eh Pat? I agree that the American cop shouldn't have questioned you questioning him. That was downright rude on his part. But glad all ended well.

Are there no mobile phones on people there? Why would someone not just call 999 right away? I don't understand the taxi driver at all. He was in the wrong, I'd say. He has a radio, correct? Could have called for help right away.

I've had similar experiences, but tend to call 911 (no 999 here) right away and explain the situation, while assessing it from my end as well. Emergency dispatch sends whichever service they think is necessary. I'm glad you're okay, but do think you did the right thing. Kudos to you for trying to help someone in distress.

Pat said...

Ponita: that would have been the sensible thing to do.
The taxi driver - unlike most of them here - was being totally unhelpful and I was thinking with my heart rather than with my head.

keith said...

Do you realise that if you had been injured in any way you would not be covered by your insurance because you "deliberately put yourself into danger". It states that in the tiny print on my personal insurance policy. If they had attacked you and caused injury, that is a different story.

The taxi driver probably knew this, that's why he didn't intervene.

My son-in-law regularly goes mountaineering and he has to pay a really hefty premium for his insurance because he puts himself in danger regularly!

Pat said...

Keith : no I'm afraid that didn't occur to me. I never think of insurance in that connection.
Perhaps I should.

Vagabonde said...

It is not an easy decision to make. Doing nothing and someone might get hurt, or getting involved and getting hurt yourself. Some decisions in life are delicate – I don’t know what I would have done.

Mage said...

Just a thank you for all the gifts you have shared with us this last year. May you enjoy health and happiness in the coming year.