Several years ago, my friend Ondreah and I were on our way to an event in NJ. Anyone who lives in the Keystone State knows that the Garden State boasts gas prices that can be as much as 20 cents a gallon cheaper. As the attendant was pumping the gas since there are no self-serve gas stations there, I noticed a bare-chested man wearing shorts, stumbling in the street and then collapsing. It was a scorchingly hot summer day, so his plight felt more immediate. I dialed 911 and described the scenario.
By this point, the man had rounded the corner facing the bridge and literally stepped in front of a car that was stopped and draped himself across the hood, and then slid back down to the street. Carrying the phone, I walked toward him, and at the request of the police officer, I handed my phone to the bridge guard and I leaned down to speak with the man who identified himself and declared that he was drunk. I could hear a siren in the distance, heralding the arrival of help. Then, I walked back to the car and we were on our way.
A short while after we arrived at the gathering, I ran into someone I knew, and I described what had transpired. His response surprised me. He replied that it would have been ok either way — whether or not I chose to help. I was incredulous. I was taught by my parents that if someone was in need and you could help, it was your role to do so.
This post is republished on Medium.
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Photo credit: Screenshot from video