Would you stop to help a drug addict up from the ground – at the side of the street?
Photo by Pablo from Buffer
This morning on the way to a business meeting from our hotel, I was walking along a busy main street in downtown Orlando. Not 20 yards in front of the five of us an older gentleman with a walking stick started to stumble backwards, tripped, and fell backwards into the side of the street. How he did not crack his head open I will never figure out and how he mostly missed the huge puddles in the gutter had been an equally impressive feat. A co-worker and I tried helping him up when he proceeded to violently swinging his cane around. That is when I noticed his blank stare and his violent convulsions. He was clearly not right. I called 911 whilst trying to calm down the disoriented person.
The first 911 operator connected me with the fire department and that operator asked me so many questions that even my other business friends started to suspect that they really thought that it was not necessary to come out to see and meet with us. Just then we noticed another passed out individual right behind us, and another quickly fading person 40 yards up the walkway. What in the world had happened here? People were dropping like flies!
After what felt like 15 minutes, which was really closer to 6 minutes, a huge fire truck stopped by and three fire fighters proceeded to disembark. They calmly approached our gutter victim and then pulled him up by his arms. “K2. It’s a relatively new designer drug and they are all passing out because of it. We know them.” Aha, that really cleared up a lot. With the situation back in control of the fire fighters we hurried to get to our meeting as this excursion had made us late.
Good grief, this drug use issue is totally out of control! I just read one of the cover stories in a recent NY Times article that highlighted this sad upward trend. The graphs took my breath away. Would you have stopped to help these folks? How else can we help? It is a saddening situation that usually ends up making me feel helpless.
That is also where I stopped my brain’s senseless 360 degree circular thinking pattern. For starters we have to and we can help out immediately. Call 911 and get the person some immediate help. Long term may not be what I can personally help out with individually, but one thing that I can do is to look closer to home to family and friends. I can make sure that I provide a nurturing and supporting environment for the people whom I am close with. I did not say enabling, because that would be the wrong thing to do.
I can make sure that those key folks know that I love and care about them. I can get them to speak with a third party if they feel like that would more easily confide into someone else but me. My love, attention, and a smile do not cost me anything and yet those are the things that may one day prevent that a stranger has to stop in the middle of the street trying to help someone near and dear to YOU. What do you think?