Saturday 3 December 2016

Thought Picnic: We must restore faith in our humanity

A calling unplanned
Sometimes, a holiday means not needing to get to bed early and in locations where there is much safety and security, it could mean staying out until the very early hours of the morning.
Normally, I would get a taxi-cab back from the town centre to my hotel which is just about 1km away, but between laziness and tiredness, the ride is a respite from a night of excessive wakefulness.
This time, with the wind blowing with the gusts of an easy gale, I started my walk back to my hotel, when I heard someone coughing and spitting. He was on the ground, whether having fallen or seeking a cosy respite, the setting did not look right.
Reached and helped
I walked round to him and asked if he was OK, he said he wasn’t. So, I reached out my hand to help him up, which he took and it became apparent that he was quite unsteady on his feet. I cannot say why this was the case and in his vulnerable state, it was no time to be judgemental.
Then I asked where he needed to get to and whether he would be able to make it there. His hotel was just a few hundred metres away, and I knew he would not successfully walk that distance which would have involved crossing two roads. I offered to hold him in a side embrace to get him to his hotel, and he obliged.
He might have been physically worse for wear, but his mental faculties were fully engaged, he was thankful for my help, very appreciative of my concern and he asked for my name as we walked to his hotel. I had decided I was going to deliver him to his hotel reception before turning back.
A dearth of kindness?
The conversation that ensued suggested he never expected even the basest forms of human kindness as I tried to assure him that there are many helpful people out there. We got to his hotel, had to go down the stairs for the reception, all the while I held onto him.
I delivered him to reception, ensured he was aware of where he had to go, at which point, he became profusely thankful, hugged me tight, he was prayerfully gracious and then he went to his room.
On reflection, I wondered if he had had an epileptic episode leading to his fall and the unsteadiness that did not seem to be from alcohol or substance abuse, then it would not have mattered, either way, I would have offered to help.
Let us do and expect to done to
Then again, the thought that people in vulnerable situations rarely have expectations of assistance until they somewhat pick themselves up off the ground bothered me greatly. We surely cannot all have lost faith in humanity not to expect another fellow human being to be of help to those in any kind of distress.
Our little conversation seemed to suggest this was not the first time nobody came to his aid that my help was almost as shocking as it was surprisingly unexpected at a strange hour from a complete stranger.
I did nothing close to the highly commendable humanity of the Good Samaritan, but if a heart beats in our chest cavity, there is nothing to prevent us reaching out to help, just because we are human first and to help reinforce the bonds of our common humanity.
My hope is he is well and maybe, I helped an angel too. Every little stretching out of the hand is a little more done to restore faith in our humanity.

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