I went into work today to help out for a couple hours between 4-6pm. I didn’t mind one bit, it was a fine day to make my way into the city and of course, Sunday pay. Getting the St Leonards to Wynyard line was a fun one. I say fun, that wasn’t the case for one individual.

Lying down on a train can provide some great views.

The carriage was fairly empty at this time however there were a few people getting on with me. As we entered the carriage, a man who must have been mid twenties was passed out on the carriage floor. He didn’t look as if he had fainted, his hands were interlocked on his stomach and his backpack provided a pillow. Regardless, a businessman alongside me approached him as did two doctors that had just finished shift. They checked his breathing, asked if he could hear them and attempted to wake him. Seeing these commuters take charge meant that I would have been merely getting in the way, if people know what they are doing it is best to let them take charge and not get in the way.

This guy was very fortunate to have the right people enter the right carriage at the right time. They were quick to come to the conclusion that it was alcohol induced by his breath, and nothing more serious than simply being totally wasted. Nevertheless the train driver was called, we stopped at the next station and with the drunk man beginning to respond, the driver did not do much more than tell him to make sure he gets off at the correct station. We set off again.

Drunk guy fell asleep again.

I had to get off on the first stop after the Harbour Bridge. The businessman and doctors agreed to get him off at Central Station, two or so stops down. It felt weird just getting off at the next station, as if I wasn’t carrying out my duty despite three people already assisting him. Sometimes it is better to just stand back and not force yourself to be of help as it can have the opposite effect. I wanted to reflect on this experience as it was refreshing to see commuters take genuine care of someone that needed it, despite (probably) being self inflicted. We talk about large cities having soulless commuters with no time for chat, this example of care and compassion shows that there are nice people everywhere. Yes, cities with 4+ million people are going to feel rushed. The faces seen everyday are new and for that there will be less conversation. Thankfully this doesn’t mean that people aren’t happy to help, even if it is only when it is truly needed.

7 thoughts

  1. On Friday I was on the travelator at the local mall. I looked down as a man fell back hitting his head on the tiled floor. Within seconds a couple of people were at his side. He had had a seizure and the woman from the bank knew how to deal with him. Yes, there were those standing around gawking, but the two people were just there to help the unfortunate man.

    1. Yeah, instinctual. But there is also crowd psychology which explains how people in groups can act differently to individuals, meaning a lot of passers by would be less willing to help if the crowds were bigger. Fascinating.

      1. Yea, the “I don’t want to get involved” thing.
        I was really annoyed a few years ago, a woman with an ice pick on the end of her cane fell on the grocery store floor. She was twice my size, so I couldn’t help lift her, but I got down on my hands & knees for her to try to get up using my back..Would anyone else help?…..no. Finally a store employee saw the situation & came over.

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