How Long Would it Take?

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Yesterday I saw something that has bothered me ever since.

Trudi and I were out driving around doing errands, in the rain, and we approached a super busy intersection.  Maybe the busiest intersection in the city, I don’t know.  Anyway, approaching the intersection, I could see that the was a car in the left lane that wasn’t moving, looked like it was stalled.

The light turned red and people were going by the car on both sides, either just moving into the right lane or going into the turn lane and then back into the left lane.  I was in the right lane and stopped a car length or so behind the stalled car.

The was still a couple car spaces ahead of the non-moving vehicle and the guy behind him went into the left lane and went back into the left lane, but wasn’t completely straight, still at an angle.

The stalled car didn’t have its emergency blinkers on.  I noticed that the car had exhaust coming out its tailpipe.

I told Trudi that I thought that the person in the car had an issue, but I couldn’t see into the car since I was a car length back in the adjacent lane.

I realized the light was about to turn green and wasn’t sure if I should just get out of my car to check on the person or call 911.  Just then, the brake lights of the stalled car went off and the guy just rolled at a walking pace, straight into the car in front of him, hitting him, at an angle, right between the passenger’s front and rear door.

The guy that got hit got out of his car and I told him that I think the guy in the car was either sick or drunk.  I was stopped in the right lane and called 911 to report the problem.  Right then, the guy behind me, in a huge pickup, just started laying on his horn.  Like continuous.  I sat there for a second and then started moving forward to let the guy by, but by the time I was past the accident enough to let the guy pass, I was in the intersection.

I was still on the phone with 911 and past the intersection.  She told me that the emergency responders were nearly there, so I gave her my number and kept moving.

I don’t have an end to the story.  I don’t know if the person in the car was sick, drunk, asleep, etc.  What I was wondering is how long they had sat there “stalled”?

It was at least through one cycle of lights.  No one seemed the least bit interested in the car, except for getting past it.  I guess it could have sat there for lots of cycles of stop lights.  I wonder if the car could have been there for an hour?   I’ll never know.

I am still wondering what is the matter with our society that no one stopped and checked on the guy.  All everyone was interested in doing was getting past the car.  Why had no one just glanced over and realize that the person needed attention?   It was fairly obvious to me.  If I would have just been one car length further forward, or gotten to the light a little earlier, I would have known for sure and acted, I hope, appropriately.

And once the accident occurred, all everyone was interested in, once again, was getting past the situation before the emergency guys showed up.  Man, that is a sorry example of our state of current human nature.

I know we live in a society that is constantly on the move, always short of time, especially right around noon on a Friday, but we all need to have it ingrained in our brains that we have to stop and render help once we recognize someone needs help.   That isn’t our normal reaction, so it needs to be taught, I guess.  And we must be doing a bad job of teaching it, since it doesn’t occur unless the situation is tragic.

I don’t know how to fix the problem, but I at least recognize the problem.  I guess we should all try to stick to the saying to treat others as you’d expect to be treated.  We all get in situations where we might need some help from strangers.  Let’s just hope that when that happens, the strangers around us are morally grounded, show a little humanity  and are not in a rush.

Click here to see some real life heroes.






24 thoughts on “How Long Would it Take?

  1. Bolas Azules

    Too many people in this world have jobs, families, responsibilities, places to go, things that need to get done, time constraints, no lesuire time and…and….and…. Oh nevermind, you won’t understand.

  2. bassorider

    Taking care of youth, the elderly, the disabled and sick is OUR responsibility. This is what make a society MORAL.
    Thanks, Steve, for caring and worrying about strangers in need.

  3. Bee

    I live in a big city, and not only would the person w/ the issue not get help, he/she would most likely be honked at, yelled at, and given the finger as opposed to being helped. It can really suck to need real help.

    If you were in Wisconsin, I would definitely say drunk.

  4. Steve Tilford Post author

    Bolas-Sure I understand. Those are the excuses everyone uses for not doing the correct thing.

    We can’t expect the police, etc. to look after all the critical issues that do arise in our society. Some things need to be dealt with instantaneous and it is up to all of us to make sure we don’t neglect our responsibilities to each other.

  5. Robert E

    For those with families, helping others in need is a great quality to show our kids. They tend to live by example and remember!

  6. Jim Robinson

    Sad. The only part of your post I don’t agree with you is this: “That isn’t our normal reaction”. Some places, where it hasn’t been programmed out, it remains the normal reaction for a large percentage of the population. Still, if emergency services were on the way, at least one other person cared.

  7. mike

    I was thinking the same thing a couple months ago.I”m a mailman and was going down the street an elderly lady walking her 2 dogs coming toward me so i moved to cross the street,she stopped as i was passing where she was standing she started to move forward and her dog went ballistic and she lost her balance and fell against a tree then to the ground i came back across the street to see what i could do there were at least 4 or 5 cars that drove by when finally someone stopped to help

  8. Bill

    It is all about me. Today’s society is all about me. Somebody probably had a camera going (so they could have their 10 seconds of fame for their video) instead of helping or they were texting or checking their facebook which are all more important then helping another person.

  9. Levi

    No, he wasn’t being sarcastic. He’s just speaking to the fact that ST is the world’s greatest gypsy. He doesn’t work, he has no children, and constantly does exactly what he feels like, weather it’s go for a ride or hop on a plane and go wherever he feels like. Pretty great life! But most people have very busy, hurried lives where they must get to work on time A LOT, and provide for the children, mow the lawn, shop for groceries, watch soccer games or spend other recreational time with the kids, help with homework……and of course rinse and repeat and so forth.

    Sometimes our most stressed part of the day is trying to get to that bike ride on time because its the one shred of time we allow ourselves some “me time”, and we know how we feel during and afterward. That brings along another responsibility, bike maintenance. When you have all day things like working on your bike or going to the food store can be fun. When your day is slammed from 5 am til 10 pm those things are not fun, their a nusance.

    Something like the lawnmower not starting, which should be no big deal is suddenly a huge deal because now there is something else to deal with in an already full schedule. Read stress. Now something’s gotta give so you can load up the mower in the truck and get it fixed, or work on it yourself. Either way… bike ride, because you sure as hell can’t skip the other “real” responsibilities.

    That’s what Bolas was referring to.

  10. Big George

    In regard to Levi’s post… You used all the words to merely make yourself look like the jocksniffer you accuse others of being. You try to make ST look bad, but instead you make him look good. It sounds to me like he has a good life and it’s your life that sucks. Maybe that’s why you continue to pollute the internet with your lameass and negative comments. You wrote all that and never really made a point. I’m betting you would be the as*hole behind ST who was laying on the horn.

    Maybe you should understand that your life on this earth has a finite timespan. It is not long. You should enjoy it and help others when they are in need. Those are your responsibilities as a human being. Remember the concept of karma and wise up.

    While you’re at it, please learn to write. It is “When your day is slammed from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. those things aren’t fun, they’re a nuisance.” Your writing makes you look stupid.

  11. zucco415

    Indeed, a sad reflection on today’s society. I still believe that our “basic instinct” is to help someone in need of immediate assistance. It’s really unconscionable to ignore that person and just keep going with carp that we think is of the utmost importance. We got things twisted somewhere along the line.

  12. James


    You made your “busy” life. Go live it & ck the raging hard on for those that choose to simplify. At the end of the game the so called “gypsy” life is going to be far more memorable than your self created life of ‘busy.’

    And, its still know excuse for the behavior described.

  13. Ken

    Reasons why the only thing one should do is call 911: (1) you never know who has a gun these days, (2) someone is likely going to run you over if you are in traffic either because they have a serious case of road rage or are texting and don’t see you, (3) what if the person has Ebola. OK, the last one is in jest, but maybe not too far off a future reality. Call it in, then get out of the way, unless you are absolutely certain you can safely help.

  14. Kenny

    I have wintessed and stopped at 2 accidents,. the phone calls and BS you get from the insurance companies and the lawyers involed for months after makes one not want to stop and help

  15. Linda

    There’s a reason I read Steve’s blog and few others – his love of humanity shows through his writing. This is not the first example of him interceding on behalf of a complete stranger. Steve is someone I respect and is the sort of person I’d like to have as a friend. Who cares what his lifestyle is – he’s a genuinely kind human being and we need more of those in this world.

  16. Levi

    Well Big George, congratulations for being the grammar police on the internet. Thats not douchey at all. The only point I was making was that some dummy didn’t understand where another commenter was coming from. Who the fuck are you to tell me what my responsibilities on this earth are? My responsibilities are to my family. If I get killed helping some worthless drunk idiot out a situation he or she created themselves, leaving my children fatherless and my wife husbandless, I have failed terribly. It’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of themselves, and yes help others when they need it. If someone is sick it’s an entirely different scenario. I never said one thing about ST’s situation on the road. You just assumed. That makes you an asshole. How’s that for grammar?

    I could use some help with my mortgage, how bout you be a good human being and help me out a bit? At least I’m not a drunk idiot falling onto the train tracks. You don’t have to risk your life to help me, I just need a few hundys…. No, my life, my mortgage, my problem right. So how is it that you feel the need to jump onto a 3rd rail and rescue some guy that didn’t act upon his own responsibilities and not put himself and others in danger?

    And my fucking God are you seriously gonna say, people that make grammatical errors on the internet are stupid? Well then this is the last place on earth you should be reading. It often reads like 5th grade, but no one, not me or anyone has ever called ST stupid for that. But really, you just did. Or is this just the place where you insert some of that ST hypocrisy? ST makes tons of mistakes in the grammar, but we get what he’s saying, so gives a shit you pompous fuck! I bet you say “To whom” a lot too. What a DICK!

    And James, I never said a gypsy life was a bad thing. I think it’s awesome and I’m jealous. But it just seems kind of douchey for a guy with no job, no family and no where to be to sit and judge everyone else for not taking the time to help. Maybe they don’t have any free time. Would he help if he was late for a flight to the latest recreational trip, or on his way to the start of a bike race? He probably would, because he seems like that kind of guy. But I’d rather see a comment like this “I saw this happening and since I’m lucky enough to have nothing to do and all day to do it, I helped out. I’m the perfect person to give help since others are very busy day to day……” Maybe the guy in the truck had his pregnant wife in the passenger seat. Do you know that to not be true?

    Understand something, I’m not a ST hater. I’m just a realist who looks at both sides of the story before just blindly jumping on board with some guy I idolize. I think for myself and try to give each angle fair consideration. It doesn’t go over well here because you’re all ST backers. I understand. It’s fine to sling shit at me, but don’t think it’s not gonna come back.

    While ST seems like a damn nice guy, an animal lover, a solid friend etc. He also seems narrow minded and out of touch lots of times. Not to mention a huge hypocrite that has money from a doping kingpin coming into his house. If he puts his money where his mouth is, he cuts all ties to people like Och, Eddy B, Dave Z etc. and takes an actual stand, not a half assed one where his friends are exempt.

    Bolas originally made light of his views, which I found accurate and amusing. All I did was try to further explain for those who needed it.

  17. OGS

    there is something about getting into our cars that make us insulated from outside and at the same time super-sensitive to anyone invading our “imaginary” space.
    Nobody cuts in line anymore – in supermarket or in starbucks, or else they would get yelled at. Imagine walking to the front of the long line, cut right in and order a latte? But in a car, this is totally acceptable.

    Imagine walking behind an old lady on the busy sidewalk and she is walking slower than you, maybe even stopping once in a while – would it be ok to srart screaming at her at the top of your lungs “AHHHHHHH!!!!!!! MOVE IT OLD HAG!”. But in a car, that’s totally Ok – just lean on the horn and start cursing at the person ahead of you for wasting up to 7 seconds of your precious life.

    Bicycling is different. Not to be smug, but it is – so is walking. You are more connected with your surroundings. Last year my beagle run away – instead of getting in a car and driving around calling for her, I got on a bike – found her in no time. It was much easier too.

    Every few months or so, mostly while on a bike, I find a lost dog and try to find its owner. While most cars just drive by – they slow down as to not hit the dog (they are nice people after all, but when the puppy gets out of their way they just keep on driving. Till the next driver goes through the same thing.

    Last time this happened to me was this week – two days ago actually, and I was in a car, my wife driving. A dog was running around, obviously lost. So I asked her to pull over, got out of the car, got the dog, tried to call the number on the collar (was hospital, closed), walked her to the nearby vet, she wasn’t microchipped and the vet wouldn’t want to take her – so I walked around the neighborhood for about 40 minutes till I finally found the owner. This was still better than walking around while wearing cleats and trying to control a dog without a leash, as I usually do.
    So my wife missed her yoga because of this and we delayed our dinner, but this was a good, decent thing to do, like your 911 call. But I wonder how many people drove by without doing anything, and what they thought to themselves.

    Back to cycling – I do think that you being a cyclist makes you look at things differently, more connected. If you were on a ride and someone crashed, you would stop and offer help – not just keep riding just because you weren’t technically involved. But if you replace bikes with cars, most people would keep on going.
    If you see someone looking a bit clueless trying to change a tire, you would stop and offer help, right? But that’s for bikes – for cars, it’s everyone for himself.

  18. OGS

    so – to summarize, if someone has a problem on the side of the road, you just keep on going. Cause you have better things to do and obligations to your family, than to someone you never met – that’s their problem.
    Also, ST is hypocrite, so that justifies your callous “me first” attitude in life. Very logical.

  19. OGS

    Levi – lawnmower not starting gives you “stress”? Having life so busy that you barely have time to ride bike = it’s Ok to not help another human being who may need your help?

    Is there ever anything worse in the world than “not getting your bike ride in” or “your lawnmower not starting”?

    Get a clue. You are living in a bubble and making up excuses.


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