Sunday, February 5, 2023

Look For The Helpers

If any of our readers have ever been witness to an emergency of some sort, they’ve probably noticed different behaviors from people immediately following the event. I'm not talking about professionals, like EMS or fire fighters; I mean the bystanders, the people who are on the scene of an incident before the professionals arrive, the actual first responders.

These people can be roughly categorized in to four general types of behavior. Put simply, they are: Wait; Predate; Ignore; and Help.

  • Wait: These are the people who are willing to jump in to assist, but generally not without clear direction from an accepted authority figure. This group probably represents the majority of people.
  • Predate: The people who are looking to get what they can for themselves, even from another person's tragedy, such as a fatal car accident or hit and run incident. Thankfully, this is a fairly small group, though larger in some areas than others.
  • Ignore: If it doesn't affect them directly, they keep going about their lives as if nothing happened. This group size likely sits somewhere between the prior two.
  • Help: These are the people who will step up without hesitation to aid in whatever way they can, even putting themselves in danger at times. While the smallest group, they are the ones we should strive to be.

Here's an example of all four types: when I lived in New York City back in the 1980s, I witnessed a collision between two taxi cabs. Many people glanced over at the sound of impact, but kept walking; others stood and stared, waiting; a few ran out to direct traffic and check on the occupants; but the woman who was a passenger in one of the vehicles got out and hailed another taxi.

As Mr. Rogers relayed in a story from his childhood:
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."
Sadly, not everyone agrees with this belief, but they also seem to be in the minority, at least for now. Still, we need to be vigilant; while there are people who genuinely need help, there seem to be several times as many scammers and confidence tricksters who prey on those who care, and I'm not just talking about the emails from that Nigerian prince.

Buy a first aid kit, get some medical training, carry basic tools, exercise, and eat properly, because when the time comes, attitude isn't enough; we need to have the tools to accomplish the goal of helping.

Don’t just look for the helpers. Be a helper. It's in all of our best interests.

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