Have you ever been confronted with an uncomfortable situation? Do you sit idly by or do you lend a helping hand? Duty of care is what it came down to for me - I learned this during my first aid training for work (I work in construction) - just envision me in a hard hat :)
I was super grumpy pants on Monday, because my favorite class filled up before I arrived to the gym. I had that moment of should I stay or should I go and then I opted to go after having a mini-meltdown. *Stomps* "But I left work eaaarrrly!" Then, I thought, "No, I should go home and spend some time with Scott." So, I grabbed my stuff, my frown and my bad attitude and ambled up towards Collins to a catch tram - yeah, I'm lazy, sometimes. When I got on the tram I noticed it was fairly empty, but decided to stand seeing that I only had two stops to go.
And that's when it hit me -- the stench and it was horrible. I won't go into detail here, but suffice it to say, it was not pretty. After taking in a somewhat unsightly scene, I noticed a man passed out cold; my adrenaline picked up and my brain starting churning a mile a minute.
In a matter of a few seconds I tried to assess the following:
- Are we on the precipice of a Zombie Apocalypse? Ok, no.
- Is he a drug addict, drunk, or bum? No, no, and no.
- I noticed he was wearing a badge, a watch and a cell phone was resting on his lap.
- Even if he was under the influence, I still would've asked for help.
And that's when I started causing a raucous.
"Sir... sir.... Sir, are you ok?
"Can you hear me?"
"Sir, wake up!"
I carried on for a minute or so, yelling and nudging him before his eyes flickered. In that minute someone called for help, someone else notified the driver and a completely useless woman proffered, "Oh, he's definitely dead."
Death never crossed my mind. I kept thinking,"what if he had a seizure?" or "what if he chokes!" So, I cradled his head in an upright position, told him my name and shouted, "help is on the way."
After asking our fellow passengers a few questions, I learned he was on the tram for at least 10 minutes and only one woman mentioned she told the driver something was wrong with one of the passengers, but she didn't say what. Perfect, how could no one else notice or if they did, why didn't they help or try to do more?
This wasn't a serendipitous moment, rather a moment of what if and fate.
What if I had made it in time for my gym class?
What if I missed the tram?
What if it was my husband, any member of my family, a friend or me?
Good or bad, I know I was meant to be on that tram as weird as that sounds.
Once we pulled into Elizabeth Street, the man was feeling strong enough to stand up and get off the tram. Together we waited for 30 minutes, with an official from the tram line, for help and his family to arrive. While we waited, this total stranger profusely and repeatedly apologized to me; I could not accept his sentiment, because he fell victim to something he couldn't control. I stood there in silence with the hum of rush hour surrounding me, feeling elated by the fact that he regained consciousness.
Eventually we pieced together a theory about what happened. It was farily warm on Monday - he was running to catch the tram and wearing a puffy winter coat; once he sat down he began to experience chest pains, so he searched on his phone about why that was happening. After that, he had no recollection of what transpired.
Moral to the story:
Never think that someone else has asked for help or has done something. Just ask or do.