I came out of the shop. I had bought whoemeal bread and some lager. (8 for £6. That will last me a few months) The guy had fallen over. Half of his body was over the pavement and half was sticking out into the road at a particularly awkward junction. He was tall and slim, with a trilby and a wax jacket on. He had a wooden walking stick and a full white beard. In fact, he looked a little like Mr Trebus.
There were a few people milling around, being around 6pm on a Friday evening in the small centre of the town, but nobody seemed to have noticed him. He was struggling and trying to get up off the floor and out of the road.
So I went over. I asked him if he would like a hand. He said yes and asked if I could give him a hand getting up. I tried, but although he was skinny, he was too heavy to lift up on my own. But then 2 other people came over. One man and a woman. The man grabbed the other arm and helped him up. Once we got him up, he was very unsteady on his feet. He had obviously had quite a bit to drink. I asked the guy who had helped me whether he knew the man who had fallen. He replied that yes, he did. He then grabbed this man’s coat by the scruff of the neck and told him to get himself together or else he would be calling an ambulance. The guy who had fallen over shouted back at helper-guy and told him not to push him.
I left them to it.
As I was walking away, the woman who had come over said “that’s the thanks you get!” I said nothing. Then she said “He’s a wino. It’s awful these days, isn’t it?” I replied that yes, nobody else had come over to help him. She then walked off in a huff. (I assume that she was actually saying that it’s awful that people get drunk in the streets these days and took offence to me not having a bitch with her about it.)
I walked away quite angry from that situation. Yes, he may very well be a ‘wino’, but he’s still a human being. And NOBODY else offered to help him before I did. There were people closer to him. People just walked past.
When did we stop caring about people? When did we stop doing people favours just because it’s a nice thing to do? Fair enough, call me naive / an optimist / idealist. But I would rather pick up 200 ‘winos’ from the floor and get spat at than walk away and leave someone on the floor to be run over.