I get misty every time.
My parents and grandparents raised me to be a Good Samaritan from a young age – holding doors for a mom struggling with a stroller, offering to shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, showing the new kid the ropes at school.
Paying it forward. Good juju. Positive karma. No matter what you want to call it, I believe in putting it out there.
Tilly and Gibbs get the very same lessons from ArtooDad2 and I now in the hopes that as they get older, having empathy for those around them will become second nature.
What blows my mind however, is the opposite.
You know, the Blind-Eye Effect, where people seemingly ignore what’s going on right in front of them.
Case in point.
I was rushing to meet a girlfriend for some moms-night-out time last night. As I power-walked out of the parking garage, I noticed a small group trudging along in front of me – an attractive 20-something year old woman, two men with severe Down’s Syndrome, and one middle-aged gent with a walker and obvious mental and motor control disabilities.
The man with the walker seemingly managed to catch that walker in every dip and drop in the sidewalk, and pitched precariously from side to side as he made his way through the crowd of people enjoying a night out on the town. The young woman was doing her best to keep the group together, but honestly, I was surprised that she didn’t have additional support along with her.
I powered along, checking my watch, and when I was literally right behind them, the man with the walker suddenly and violently pitched forward, falling Superman-style onto the sidewalk as the walker went flying into the street.
Folks quickly side-stepped the fallen man, looking on curiously. Without even thinking about it, I jogged over to two disabled men and led them to a store front so they could wait there, then quickly went back to the woman and the fallen man. The poor thing couldn’t get up, and as she and I did our best to hook him under the arms and hoist him to a kneeling position, I noticed several sturdy-looking men and women, and a few groups of college students walking by. Not one person offered to assist us.
A little girl about Gibbs’ age and her mother were getting out of a car next to us, and as the little girl asked her mom what was happening, the mom told her to look away and not get near us.
This was no small man, and the woman I was helping looked like she weighed about a dollar and some change. And, though I’m more padded than I used to be, I’m only 5′ 3″ and hardly as strong as some well-fed frat boys.
It took us both about ten minutes to get the man back to a standing position and as we did, he whimpered quietly like my children do when they skin their knees.
I accompanied the little group across the street, and once I left them, I couldn’t help wondering, how do parents choose one lesson over the other?
I want my kids to have the same reaction I did, and not even hesitate to try to help.
What would you choose? The Blind-Eye Effect or the Good Samaritan Effect?
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