I did all I was supposed to do

by John Doe 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    The man drove along the highway, cautiously and slowly as the fresh sleet pranced on the roadway with the chill of a new winter. Driven, the man concentrated on getting to the office, another day and another piece in the construction of his success. Reports, proposals, and bids occupied his mind, not thinking of the cold city just outside his window.

    From the corner of his vision, he sees an elderly lady in his rear view mirror he'd just passed slip and fall on the ice. She lay sprawled out, clutching her hip and obviously unable to get up. The man pulled off the road, into a parking lot, cursing his luck because he was going to be late this morning. He ran back to where the lady had fallen, cars speeding by without slowing down.

    "Are you ok?" he asked her as he bent over and got a closer look.

    She replied with an inarticulate moan, and lay clutching her side. Her gray hair hung shoulder length over her aged and weathered skin, shining with a silver sheen that could have been beautiful in a dry, warm building. She was of a small stature, and had tattered clothes no doubt purchased from the Salvation Army. Grandmotherly would be an apt description.

    The man looked at her hip, and saw that it was broken, but no bones were protruding and she would live if given the appropriate medical attention. He calls an ambulance. Satisfied that he'd performed his good Samaritan deed for the day, he leaves so he won't be late for work.

    The paramedics leave the hospital on their way with the directions the man had given. Unfortunately, his directions had been mistaken by two blocks. After seeing that no one was around, they return to the hospital, unwilling to spend any time looking in such a poor part of town. They had completed their duty.

    The sleet turned to snow, and the roadway became colder. The old woman had become a part of the landscape, and was not noticeable to the cars driving by on the highway. The motorists who did see her thought she was a bum--why else would anyone be lying on the sidewalk out in the cold that way? They didn't stop--their duty was not to enable bums to be bums--the cold might teach them to fend for themselves and work for a living.

    The night passes, and so does the woman. Her children wait anxiously for her at the birthday party they had planned. None of them had seen her for the past year--they were busy with their own kids and families and businesses--but they always threw her a birthday party. They felt it was their duty. And so they sat around with the cake and 75 candles, waiting for her to come. And everyone was were sure she would come, because like good kids, they had arranged for one of them to send her a card inviting her to her party. That was their duty. Naturally, they couldn't spend too much time with a phone call or a personal visit--they had extremely important things to do. But they always made sure she knew she was loved by throwing her a party once a year. They never failed in doing this--their duty was done. They had done nothing wrong. The woman's grandchildren played with their latest toys slayed dragons and became super heroes.

    No one did anything wrong.


    That was not only beautifully written, it was one of the saddest reflections on how busy we tell ourselves we are that I have ever read.

  • Alligator Wisdom
    Alligator Wisdom


    That story really pushed buttons with me. Saved it!

    Alligator Wisdom (aka Brother NOT Exerting Vigorously)

  • bikerchic

    Touching John.

    No one did anything wrong.

    It could also be said no one did anything right, too.

  • BFD

    Maybe the guy should never have left the old woman lying there alone on the side of the road in agony. It was wrong not to wait for the ambulance.

    Maybe her children were wrong not to pick up thier mom and get her safely to the party.

    Maybe I'm wrong for reading it like this.


  • John Doe
    John Doe

    What standard do we live by? Do we act to avoid doing something wrong or not socially sanctioned, or do we act with the object of accomplishing something helpful? What do we do when our goals and purpose keep our focus narrow to the exclusion of what's happing around us?

  • The Oracle
    The Oracle

    I have to agree with BFD.

    I think everyone was WRONG. Can you imagine actually leaving the side of a 75 year old woman who just BROKE HER HIP before the ambulance arrived so you wouldn't be LATE FOR WORK? That is INSANE!

    Can you imagine being an ambulence driver and deciding not to drive around a bit to look for this woman because it was a poor area of town? THAT IS INSANE!

    Can you imagine not worrying and kicking in to action when your 75 year old mother does not show up for her birthday party? THAT IS INSANE!

    I see the point that the story is trying to make though... and it is a good one, but HOLY COW... I think it a bit of a stretch to to claim "I did all I was suppose to do" or I did nothing wrong.

    Was this some kind of a tricky ethics test?

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    The guy who stopped actually did stop. Everyone else drove on. He called for help and actually did more for her than the average person. Would it make a difference if his entire career depended on him being there in 10 minutes, he would be fired if he were late for the meeting, and that his arrival would allow the marketing of a device that would save many lives?

  • The Oracle
    The Oracle

    Hmmmm...now you are making me think a bit deeper.

    Okay finished.

    Maybe I didn't go deep enough, but I still cannot imagine leaving a 75 year old woman, lying on the ground in agony, in a bad part of town all alone before the ambulence arrived. As a rational person I would not be worried about being fired for being late 10 minutes. Imagine telling your boss that you were tending to a 75 year old woman with a broken hip and that is why you were late and STILL getting fired....here it comes again - THAT WOULD BE INSANE.

    Now as far as the marketing meeting that somehow because of me being late 10 minutes would somehow submarine the release of some product that would save millions of lives or something like that.... well that is a little insane too wouldn't you say? Would anything really suffer that much because you took an extra 10 minutes to assist a helpless old woman lying on the side of the road with a broken hip.

    NO ONE is that important that they can't take that much time out of their life to show the kind of compassion that human decency cries out for.... 10 minutes.

    Am I right ?

    I like your mental exercise by the way. More people need to pose these kinds of questions so that we are forced to evaluate what kind of internal value systems we have developed.

  • John Doe
    John Doe

    Yeah, this was a quick jotting down of the idea, and it doesn't work as well as it might. I need to modify the story to make it more believable.

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