Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mind your own damn business

This is my new resolution I'm just keeping my head down from now on. Getting involved in other people's stuff is a pain in the ass. Here's why:
Yesterday at lunch time I decided to run out and get a sub instead of eat the stuff I had brought. So I get to the store and there's no line-up which is a great because it's a bit of a hike to get there. I get out with my sub in record time and I'm ready to boot it back to the office, when all of a sudden while I'm waiting for the light, I notice this older lady staggering. She appears that she's getting blown away by the wind, but the wind isn't that bad. Then she falls. I rush over to her, but in response to every question I ask her, she just mumbles and is completely unintelligible. She doesn't smell like booze and she's dressed ok and she's clean, so even if she can't take care of herself, someone is. Then I notice a purse and bag lying on the ground about 10 metres from us in the direction the woman was coming from. I get it and bring it back, and she looks at it with no recognition. She didn't seem remotely concerned about her purse, or the fact that she was rolling around on the ground with her undies exposed on a cold day.
Another lady stopped at the same time and we were trying to decide what to do. She pointed out that the lady had cut her knees pretty badly, and it looked like it was already bruising. I said I was calling 911, the other lady said, 'Do you think it's that serious?' I said, 'It's cold and I don't want to just leave her here.' So another lady volunteered her phone. I get on with the 911 operator and as I'm talking to her the lady grabs her purse hops up and starts walking away. The lady with the phone didn't look like she was in the mood for a chase and the operator is saying that the whole response ambulance and fire is on the way. At that point I'd have liked to call it off. The ridiculous part is that the whole time I'm telling the 911 operator that the patient is on the move she seemed to understand but 2 or 3 times asked me if the lady was breathing. Anyway, I hung up with 911 and went to catch up with the lady who was a very fast walker. she had gotten 2 blocks by the time I caught up with her, the whole time trying to flag down the fire truck. Luckily I'd described her to them, and so they were able to circle around an head her off. When I caught up they were already asking her if she was diabetic. She seemed to be communicating with them, but I couldn't really hear anything she was saying, so she could have been doing the same thing to them. Anyway, I went over and identified myself as the caller.
I appologized for calling and said I hoped I hadn't wasted their time, they were really nice and said that it was never a mistake to call. I excused myself and headed back to work. And then had to sit through an afternoon cocktail party next to my desk.
I don't know if I should have called 911 or not, I didn't want to sit around freezing my ass off on a street corner all afternoon with some lady who was loosing it, I didn't want to walk away and keep wondering if she got home ok. But then when I called the ambulance and the lady took off, I wished I had a time machine to go back and walk right by when the lady fell. Thankfully the firetruck guys were nice and competant, the day's only saving grace.

10 comments:

Jennifer said...

Well, the nice firemen weren't the only good thing about the day, there was the lovely Choclair, the Chocolate Fountain, sushi for dinner and a lovely eving with my lovely BF.

Anonymous said...

You did the right thing love and I hope you will do it again if the situation warrants it.

yrautca said...

Did you read my post on similar topic some weeks ago? I was witnessing a domestic abuse situation and the woman came to me and showed me her wounds. I called 911 but some people told me that if she was being abused and she told you about it then she should have had the courage to call herself. I just made an anonymous call to 911.

I think you did right. I would not have gone near that woman though. Americans are very very very lawsuit friendly. If I had touched the woman the wrong way (in her mind) she would have sued me and my few generations to come.

Trib said...

Sounds like everything turned out alright. Yrautca's right, though, you need to be careful touching people who stumble around and fall. What if she was a zombie? Next time find a golf club or something and stand a few feet away ready to strike if she lunges.

Jennifer said...

I think it was more likely that she was a zombie than a litigious asshole. You don't get the kinds of settlements in Canadian courts to really make frivoulous litigation a profitable enterprise.
I think about liability more than the average 20-something year old Canadian anyway and in this case it all seemed pretty safe.
For one, it was 3 women who didn't know eachother helping another woman. Two, it was the middle of the day on a busy street corner. Three, I didn't touch her and I don't think anybody else did either. I might have touched her to keep her down so she wouldn't wander off on a broken leg, or fall again, but I didn't want to upset her and she did it pretty fast.

Miss Ash said...

Only you Jennifer LOL. Were the firemen at least something to look at...make it a little more worthwhile perhaps?

Anonymous said...

In downtown Toronto you have to be careful who you stop to help. At first I thought it was some kind of ruse and you likely lost something in the deal.

If its only your pride what the heck.

Jennifer said...

I don't think I've ever really been caught in a ruse, knock on wood, I've never had my wallet stolen, been pickpocketed, lost my passport, anything like that...thankfully. I'd expect, based on the odds, that something like that would have happened to me already. I've travelled to some pretty sketchy places and the worst scam ever perpetrated on me was once when I bought a bottle of what I thought was Evian in Beijing when I was 12 years old, it was sealed with the ring around the cap and everything. I got so sick, I was in the toilet for days. That sucked.
Generally I'm pretty skeptical, I think that's why I've escaped unscathed.
My pride on the other hand, takes a daily beating.
Oh well....

sly said...

you did the right thing. good karma will flow to you.

shame on that woman for acting like an git after the fact. it discourages good citizens like you from doing the right thing in the future.

Princess Pessimism said...

I agree with Sly. I try to do the good /right thing on a regular basis....

E.G. Pride parade 2004, that little little little boy was lost in a sea of people, and I pointed him out to sly, and we grabbed him and just stopped and waited for his parents to show up, which didnt take that long as they were frantic....but I believe that if you keep doing the good/right thing, good things will eventally happen to you.