Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Be Here Now: My Good Samaritan Moment

Last night Robert and I were taking the dogs for a walk at an hour a bit later than usual.  Once outside, the first thing I noticed was how the fog rolled in tonight, making it eerie and spooky.  We could only see about half way down the street.  Usually the fog makes me feel a bit claustrophobic, but this night when I looked up I could see the bright full moon shining through the earthbound shroud of fog.  

We were getting to the end of our walk, down near the South end of the block.  Of the four blocks we travel each night, the tradition when we get to the third block is for me to hold the leashes of both dogs and hit the mobility scooter full throttle so the dogs can trot down the sidewalk.  As we got closer to the alleyway towards the end of the block, I saw what looked like a box propped up against the side of the commercial building that lines the busy thoroughfare to the South.  

I waited for Robert to catch up to us and handed Theodor's leash back to him.  Our dogs are still learning how to remain calm in the face of people and obstacles we encounter on our walks and this looked like one of those situations.  As we crossed the alley and headed to the corner, the dogs were unusually calm.  As we passed the box, I looked over and I realized that the box was actually a human being, a man with dark hair, dressed in dark clothes, lay flat and face first into the sidewalk.  There was a cup near the person standing upright.  As we walked and rolled by, he did not move or make a sound.

We got to the corner, crossed the street and made our way back down our street.  I looked across the street and the person on the pavement still had not moved or acknowledged our presence.  The dogs were still calm and did not react to this person.  I turned to Robert and said, "We should call the police."

The Tuileries Gardens - 'The Good Samaritan' s...Image by hugefluffy via Flickr
It took just a few more minutes to make it back to the house and I hurried in to make the call.  I decided to call 311 and was transferred to the Fire Department dispatcher.  I explained what we saw, giving the location of the person we saw and his condition.  I mentioned to the dispatcher about the cup near the person and said, hopefully, "Perhaps he is just drunk and passed out."  I was expecting a bit of a fight, trying to get them to come out and attend to the man we saw, but I was pleasantly surprised when the dispatcher thanked me for calling.

A few minutes later, I walked out the back door and down the driveway to see if the paramedics had arrived.  The fog was thicker and visibility even more reduced, but I could see the red lights of the Fire Department vehicles flashing through the fog at the end of the block.  I hoped that the man I saw was O.K. and that the paramedics were able to help him.  As I walked back to the house, I wondered if the late start to our walk tonight was just coincidence or fate.     

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