I had a short debate with myself, debating if I should make this post at all, and if so how I was going to tell this little tale. I have a number of perspectives by which I could tell this tale, that is the curse one has when one views a situation from as many perspectives as you can in order to get a better understanding of what is really going on. I have made my decision, I am going to tell the tale, and I have chosen the perspective by which I am going to relay the story to you. Those who know me from my website The Rant Page, will know I am very political, and I will have some politics in this story, but it also may surprise you how that is going to be done. This is a true story, one that happened today. Do not read to the end of this paragraph **Spoiler Alert** I do not know how this story ends.
This story has a few players that need some introduction, I will introduce them to you as they appear in this tale. I will be using some descriptions that I have been told can be found as offensive, I do not care, these are my descriptions and I stand by them. I also will not be using any names other than my own, for only one exception, I do not know the names of any of the other people involved, and the one other I do know I will not mention to protect his identity.
I had an Adult Health Simulation today at school. On any other simulation day, we are required to wear scrubs to Lab, but as this is the first Lab Sim of this semester we were required to wear our full Clinical scrubs, which are ceil blue pants with a white scrub top complete with school logo and badge. As I had just left the school my stethoscope was still around my neck, honestly, I often forget it is there.
I left the parking lot and was making my turn onto one of the main roads out of the area when I noticed a large black man in what looked like throw away scrubs, standing in front of a large delivery vehicle, think very large Ryder truck. He looked to be very upset and was yelling as I turned right next to him onto the street. Looking now in my rear-view mirror I noticed he was not moving and was in fact blocking the truck, which was backing up traffic behind him. I found a safe place to pull over and got out of my car to see if there was anything I could do to help this man.
Walking back to the intersection I got a better look at him, he looked as if he had pulled out an IV as the tape that would hold such a device was still on his hand and he also had no shoes or socks on, it was in the mid-80s today and it was just before 1 p.m. and he was standing on a blacktop street. The hospital that we were next too has a Psych ward and yes I assumed this man was or is a Psych patient, but my main concern was to see if I could get the man out of the street before he gets hurt.
I called out to him, asking him to come talk with me, over in the shade on the sidewalk, mentioning his feet must be getting burned in the heat. He stared at me, but when a woman now standing next to me took up my cue and said the same thing, he yelled at her. I saw he had a bag of belongings in the middle of the street that was almost getting hit by cars trying to maneuver their way around the truck, and the man blocking it. At this point I left the sidewalk, walked to the middle of the street and picked up the bag, looking at the man saying ‘I am just going to move this out of the street so it does not get run over’ and then finished by walking behind the truck, up the sidewalk so he could see me and his belongings, and placed the bag off the side of the sidewalk. At this point I noticed that there was Hospital Security standing there.
One of the security personnel, politely asked the man to come over to the sidewalk, pointing to the belongings, to which he was yelled at by the way of a reply. I was thinking that security was here I might as well leave as there is nothing I can do that cay are not better equipped to do, but seeing the man was more upset with security, they backed away, almost a half block! I guess they did not want to make matters worse.
Another black man came up behind me and yelled out to the guy in the street calling him by name, telling me he went to school with the guy many years ago. The man in the street yelled at him as well. I felt helpless, yet I did not leave, I still wanted to help, there was also a number of people coming out of various medical office buildings to see what was going on, which only seemed to agitate the man as he started yelling at people now all around him, at a distance. In frustration, I assume, he looks directly at me, his eyes pleading and yells ‘Doctor, it is all their fault, they through me out and did not even give me a bus ticket’. It hit me, I am an older guy in a clinical uniform with a stethoscope around my neck, of course I am a doctor! I yelled back saying, ‘Lets take care of that, why don’t we stand in the shade and talk about it.’ The black man wearing a uniform from a famous water conditioning firm asked me if I was a doctor, I said ‘No, but….” He finished, ‘Don’t tell him that’ as he pointed to him. He was walking across the street for the shade of a tree.
Now for the reason for me telling this story, I am an angry white man who is fed up with the stupidity, greed and selfishness of my fellow humans. From self-righteous of farts to intitled millennials I have often said we as a race, not black or white but rather humans, are headed to hell in a handbasket.
As this troubled man black man walked to shade, those standing there gave him room, not because they were scared of what he might do, but rather as to not upset him further. As his former classmate and I crossed the street to see what we might do I noticed that a few of the white females offered him some water, not taking it they left it on the ground telling him it was there if he wanted, another white female placed a Gatorade next to the water, both backing up to give him room to take the offering.
The man took one of the sports drinks, mentioned that he just needed some money to get on the bus, I did not have my wallet on me, but I saw hands dive into pockets and in mere minutes the guy must have had twenty or more dollars in his hands. One guy came up taking off his shoes saying if he was going to get on a bus he needed shoes. The man looked at the shoes and said, “Man, I can’t take your shoes!” and he repeated it a few times, not angry, not upset almost as if he were in shock that a well-dressed young white man would take off his own shoes to give to him. He walked off a bit, a police man arrived took some simple statements from those standing around and went off to talk to him. I went to my car and left, amazed at what I had just witnessed.
These people who gathered around wanted nothing more that to help a man who was in obvious distress. They were not there to make judgments, poke fun, get mad or otherwise make the man’s pain a spectacle. Politically I am a conservative, some think that means I do not care about others, conservatives know better, liberals do not have a monopoly on caring. I have a personal belief, I believe I have an obligation to my fellow man, even if it is just trying to get him out of the street. I do not believe that the government should tell me how to care or what percent of my paycheck needs to go to help others. That is totally up to me, in my belief.
I do not know those who helped this man, I know many offered water and Gatorade, a woman also came out with a pair of sneakers, so two people offered shoes, the woman also had socks. I believe in their own way Hospital security helped by calling the police and backing off after noticing they were making him madder. Money appeared out of thin air at the mere mention of buying a bus ticket, and one man even produced a bus pass.
In this world of people hating others for the sake of hate, I saw many people from all walks of life and I assume political backgrounds come together for one simple cause, the safety of one man. There is hope for us after all.