Sometimes, I wonder where humanity has gone.
On Sunday, I took a trip to New York City via Amtrak. I usually go to the nearest station, and take the train into the city because it’s convenient and a lot easier than driving into Manhattan and finding parking at a reasonable rate.
The ride down was uneventful.
The ride back, not so much.
Amtrak announced right away that it was going to be a full train. So people should let others sit etc. Don’t block seats and all that good stuff. Not that people listen, but you know how it is.
Sitting behind me was an elderly couple. Shortly into the trip, the lady went to the bathroom, which was in the front of the car — basically about four or so rows up from me. A few minutes later, the man went up to the door and started knocking on it asking his wife to unlock the door.
I had my headphones on and could still hear him, so I slipped one of my ear buds out to see what was going on.
He had a sound of desperation in his voice. People around me were giggling a little bit about this whole situation. Just as I was about to go up and ask him if he would like me to get a conductor, she unlocked the door and in he went.
A minute or two later, the door opens and he sort of backs out. All of a sudden, there’s a gasp and the lady falls. These are older people, so it’s not like he’s an extremely strong person. A few people rush up to help. Somebody gets a conductor.
But this is where I wonder about humanity.
On one hand, we have the good. There were three nurses on the train who came to help — including the first on the spot who was in a sling.
Kudos to the Amtrak employees who did everything they could to get the needed help and to make sure things went as smooth as possible. I thought the Amtrak people were wonderful and, though muted in our car, you could slightly hear announcements apologizing for the delay but saying there was a medical emergency. Well done all around by Amtrak.
There are those who want to help as much as they can, and that’s a good thing, but also know when to back off when there are true people who can help get things under control.
Then there are those who just need to take a seat.
Two or three people in the rows in front of me needed to feel involved, I think. My thought process is this is probably going to make a great cocktail party story one day on how they helped saved somebody’s life (for the record, it sounds like the lady got dizzy and sweaty. She was conscious and breathing the whole time, from what I could hear) because they had a cold bottle of a sports drink in their bag.
The rest of the time, they hovered around the people actually helping the lady. They chatted and laughed (you can’t make this up).
Meanwhile, not far from me, somebody a row or two back said “I guess we won’t be getting to our stop on time.”
Then there’s the kid who just didn’t want to get home later than planned. After all, it’s a tough day in the city going to a hockey game. Heaven should forbid we worry about the lady with the medical emergency.
This came when we heard the sirens of the paramedics coming. The person he was with (father? Grandfather? Uncle? I honestly wouldn’t know) told the lad we were looking at about 20-30 minutes. That meant getting back at around 7:15-7:20, instead of like 6:50-6:55. You’d have thought the world would have ended. The kid, probably in his early-to-mid teens, was like “NOW it’s 7:20? …” and something else, but it was a good complaint full of whining, followed by a sigh and putting his head down on the tray in front of him.
Others were walking from the back, oblivious to the whole thing, looking for seats and trying to get to the next train car. We explained what was happening and they’d be like “So I can’t get through?”
My favorite was when they were getting the lady out and this dude came up to use one of the bathrooms. He was drinking his can of Bud Light and wondered if he should go to a different bathroom. Instead he stayed there until he left. Just watching and drinking his beer. Oblivious.
This is humanity now.
Though there were some people who legitimately helped, others were there acting like they could help. Others couldn’t care about one a human being in need over their own plans. Emergencies happen. I hope one day if I am in that situation, somebody like the nurses who helped will be around.
When the gentleman came back to get his luggage, I stood up and pulled them down for him, despite him saying he could get it. There’s no reason for him to worry about those things. That’s the only way I could help, so I stayed seated the whole time with the hopes his wife will be fine.
The medical people were quick and efficient, so that was good. We had about a 20-minute delay, which is no big thing to me.
Humanity is the bigger concern.
Sometimes people need to take a step back and look at situations. Believe me, I know all about frustrations and not liking things to get in my way or mess up my plans. But they happen. And if it’s over a situation like this, just take a step back and realize one day you could be in the same situation. Would you rather they just tossed you out at the next stop, or actually worried/cared enough to make sure they got you the help you needed?
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