Pass By On The Other Side
Last weekend’s news about the mountaineer on Mount Everest being saved by a passing climber was heartwarming. However, the month before, a climber died on the face of the mountain even though an estimated forty climbers passed him by without offering to help him.
What’s that? you say. It can’t happen here. We are more considerate and caring than that.
But let me tell you about an experience I had last week.
I have a bum knee. It’s more of a nuisance than a serious condition. However, last week, I managed to twist my other knee. Great, I thought, now how do I walk comfortably?
After spending several days in the close company of ice packs, I was able to walk with a cane well enough to go back to work as long as I didn’t need to walk a marathon.
I returned, and everything was just dandy until, one day, a thunderstorm came up in the area and the power went off in the plant. At the same time the fire alarm went off, and we were obliged to evacuate. The gathering place for employees is in a spot I call the north forty, since it is about a third of a mile away from my work area. To complicate matters, you must leave the plant through the nearest exit and walk around the perimeter of the factory to get to the designated location.
Taking my cane, I left the building and started to walk with a large group of my fellow workers. I wasn’t fifty feet outside the door when I came to the realization there was no way I could make it to the gathering location. By this time, more than forty people had walked past me, some of them managers of departments in the plant, and not one had asked if I needed help. One or two asked me why I was using a cane, but then hurried on after I told them the reason.
Finally, I heard a voice calling my name. It was my co-worker, Helen. She told me to stop and wait. She returned to the plant, retrieved a wheelchair, proceeded to help me into it, and started to push.
Why did she see the need, while others walked by without a thought? She has a handicapped son in a wheelchair, and he needs help to do the simplest of tasks. She saw my need and responded, as she would with her son.
It turned out to be a false alarm.
Why did the others not stop and offer to help? I cannot speak for them and their reasons. However, I pray that my eyes will never be blinded to the needs of others, for I don’t want to look up to see the mountain and miss the climber at my feet.
– Lester Warner
Orwell, Ohio, U.S.A.