20 December 2008

A Little Good

A few years ago Matt and I were having lunch at a little sandwich place. My back was to the front door (and windows). Suddenly everything got quiet. I turned toward the door and saw people looking out the windows and pointing. I could not see the object of their interest, so I stood up. In the intersection outside was a huge accident involving several vehicles. I told Matt I was going out to render aid -- which I did -- and returned about 15 minutes later to finish lunch.

While sitting there telling Matt about the people in the main car (bleeding, but not badly injured) it dawned on me that I was the only person who left that restaurant to render aid. In fact, until the police arrived, I was the only person on scene not involved in the accident. Despite several cars being involved, not a single other person came to help.

When things like this happen, I always hop right up to help. I have parked my car near an accident and directed traffic, I have helped clean up auto pieces so traffic could drive by. Never once did I think twice.

In fact, I love to tell the tale of one Friday night going out dancing when I lived in San Francisco. En route to the club, driving down the 10 highway, in the dark, I saw a few cars move erratically in what I knew was a pretty bad accident (I didn't see it actually happen). I stopped, sat with one of the people who was badly hurt until paramedics arrived. I then went to the club. When I entered people gave me a real stare. One of the people I knew asked what happened to me. It was then that I realized the entire front of my shirt was bloody. I went to the bathroom and there was blood all over my arm and face. Wow!

Yesterday coming back from lunch we chanced upon a freeway accident that had just happened. It involved a motorcyclist and several vehicles. The police hadn't arrived yet, but a lot of people had already stopped to render aid, so we kept driving.

I mention all this because of my shock over an article in Friday's Los Angeles Times in which the state supreme court has cleared the way for a good samaritan to be sued for rescuing a woman from a car accident. I mean, seriously, what is the court thinking? Just think of how many lives have been saved by people doing the same things I wrote about. I don't think I saved anyone's life, but I know I did good by rendering aid or even just comfort until the professionals arrived.

Can you imagine what will happen if this suit is successful? People will refuse to render aid -- and for good reason. It is not only potentially dangerous for the person, but now s/he could get sued, too. This is just so sad and wrong.

You can read the distressing article here.

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