The Electronic Good Samaritan

April 29, 2013


When did life change so shockingly for some of us that we did not even realize it was changing? There was a time past when we would get off our donkeys and help some poor stranger in distress – no questions asked.

Those days are over, and I certainly slept through their passing. But what happened between the time when we stopped and helped the sick, the poor and those in distress to the present time when we now take pictures of the sick, the poor, and the distressed instead of helping them?

In this age of electronics when everyone is busy recording every little detail of every little public and private action and every word spoken around them, it is no surprise that the Good Samaritans have disappeared.

A few years ago I was in the Yucatan Peninsula climbing pyramids and ancient monuments when my foot slipped and I began rolling down the last six steps of a pyramid. No one came to my assistance, but everyone in the immediate area was recording my fall from grace. Cameras or phones or whatever else their hands held were busy recording my descent if not my demise.

Even after I hit the bottom, and the drama was over, no Good Samaritan came to help me get up. Everyone walked away with fabulous pictures of an adventurous woman rolling down the pyramid – I hope. If those electronic tourists had followed me back to my hotel they would have gotten some great colourful pictures of my blue, black and purple body – blue arms and black legs, purple back and front, and even a little blue and black on the forehead.

Three years ago I was in Madrid, and in the broad day light of the middle of day three women attacked me. I had just left the Prado and was waiting at the light to cross the street. At least 15 to 20 people were waiting at that light. These women were trying to relieve me of my handbag which was across my shoulder. I don’t know where I found the strength, but I held on to my bag for dear life. In the meantime, some of my fellow pedestrians waiting for the green light began recording the incident.

This did not please the three barbarous women, so they left me and turned on the picture takers trying to seize their equipment, and so my handbag was saved. I ran in the opposite direction and left the women and the pedestrians to fight it out.

The reason I recalled these incidents was because of the following incident. In January I slipped and fell off a ladder and hurt my right foot and right shoulder. Twenty-four hours later the foot was blue and swollen and I could hardly move the shoulder.

I went to the doctor, he sent me for x-rays. I drove into the parking lot of the lab, got out of the car, and was walking / dragging myself to the entrance of the lab when I slipped and fell again. My right foot was painful, I could hardly put my weight on it, the ground was icy and slippery, it was winter, and I lost my balance and was on the ground again in an awkward position with my left foot under me, the knee twisted at an awful angle.

Two people were exiting the lab and saw what happened. Two people were behind me about to enter the lab and also saw what happened. All four of them came to my “rescue”. However, they did not help me to get up. One man asked if I wanted him to take pictures of me sprawled on the ground. He said I would need the pictures to sue the lab. I shook my head negative. The other man said I should stay on the ground (the cold and icy ground) while he went inside and get a nurse or a doctor. Again I shook my head negative.

I wiggled my toes, they wiggled, I was okay, but in pain. I started to get up by myself and was able to accomplish the task without help. The woman who was about to enter the lab brushed and straightened my coat, and asked if I was okay. I said yes, thanked them, and we parted.

It is inconsequential that I ended up with two taped ankles and drove home with a pain and a prayer. The doctor gave me permission to drive. It bothered me that instead of helping me, someone would want to take my picture while lying flat on the icy asphalt so I can sue the lab.

It is true that electronics have helped expose crime and provide evidence when innocent people were accused of crimes, etc. But whatever happened to the good old days when people helped people – just helped them.

We need more Good Samaritans in the world. Not electronic Good Samaritans, but ordinary people who just help someone when they fall down, or they need a hand to help them get up!

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