30 June 2009

Help

On Sunday evening strolling to the Sunday quiz at our local pub. I wave to Neil and Sue but I don't wait for them. They're too far away. I cross the pelican crossing on Ecclesall Road and just as I reach the opposite pavement, I become aware of some shouting further down the road. I walk on.

Causing a passing car to screech to a halt, I see a young man running towards me, hotly pursued by another young man who is holding a weapon - a bat or club of some description. The aggressor is shouting that he is going to kill his prey - "You're f---ing dead mate!" As the young man gets closer to me he yells -"Help me! Help me!" I sense the panic in his voice.

I have never seen the young man before and I have never seen the hunter. I don't know what it is all about. The hunter gives up his chase and I turn to the quarry, shouting "It's all right! You've got away. Just keep running!" The young man turns the corner but he's slowing down - he thinks he's got away.

Club-man retreats to a parked car - a battered old green vehicle with an ancient "B" registration plate. He jumps in. There's someone in the passenger seat. Putting his foot down, the ancient wreck of a car screeches upto the corner. Momentarily, I picture the victim, sauntering along feeling a huge sense of relief that he has escaped the nutcase with the club. Then the green car brakes to a halt and the nasty bloke jumps out with his bat.

I replay the words"Help me!" again and again. What could I have done? What should I have done? The parable of The Good Samaritan is a story that contains a moral message which I have always identified with. And yet there I was being asked for help by a young man with fear in his eyes and really I did nothing. Lord knows what happened round that corner.

5 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what else you could have done. You did at that moment think he'd got away. You could not have saved him against two men and a car. It was one of those "what if" moments with the odds well stacked against you, sadly.

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  2. Something similar happend here a while ago. Two men went to the aid of a lady being beaten. One was shot dead and the other was lucky to survive after being repeatedly shot. This all happend on a busy city street shortly after 7 am. For all you know this could have happend to you.

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  3. Tricky one this and one you'll never know the answer to. Intervention isn't always the answer. If I were you I'd accept the situation as is. Like Craig says, you could have ended up worse off.

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  4. DAPHNE I suppose what bothers me is the hope that if I ever found myself shouting at a complete stranger "Help me!" that I might actually get that help.
    CRAIG When I was eighteen I tried to intervene when I saw a guy beating his girlfriend at the side of the road. I got pushed into the road and narrowly avoided being run over by a passing car.
    DAVID You're right. I feel like a modern day Levite.
    VALERIE Thanks. Don't worry. I have got the thing in proper perspective.

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