Friday, January 29, 2010

Collapse

This afternoon we stopped for tea in a small indoor foodcourt. Just as we picked a table where I could pull the chair in, there was a loud crash followed by someone screaming, 'Oh my God, someone call security!!!' Then people were gathering around a table just a bit away from us.

'Did you see anything?' Joe asked.

'No,' I said.

A few minutes later people were being shooed away by a phalanx of security officers. Most people left but there were two diehards that refused to leave the spectacle of someone else's misfortune. With others gone I saw that a man was laying on the floor half under a table. He was about thirty, the same age as the security guard guy who was the one in charge.

The guy on the floor was uncomfortable so the guard folded up his jacket and made a pillow for the other man's head. He spoke to him quietly. 'I know I'm in a uniform, but don't be afraid. I am not a police officer, I am a security guard, you are not in trouble, I just want to help you. Can you tell me what happened?' One of the hangers on who would not leave called out, 'He looked like he was having a seizure.'

The guard did not address the woman who spoke, he didn't break gaze, 'Don't tell me what you are hearing from others, just use your own words to tell me what happened.' I heard the fellow speaking softly but I couldn't hear what he was saying. The woman who had called out actually yelled out, 'Tell him to speak up, I can't hear him.' Finally, two of the other guards got her to move, she was extremely upset but she had no choice and she finally left.

Soon it was just two security guards and the guy on the floor. With some assistance he got up, he said that he hadn't eaten for a bit and he thinks he may have just passed out. The fellow working the Woks at the Chinese place called out, 'Chicken or Beef, I'll whip you something up quick. No charge.' Food was made, food was eaten, colour came back into his face. 'Are you sure you don't want us to call an ambulance the guard asked for the fourth or fifth time. The fellow said, 'No' he was feeling better. The guard walked him to the door, chatting, with him ensuring he was ok.

I'm composing a message to that food court. I have decided that if I'm going to collapse anywhere, it'll be there. Kindness followed kindness, those in uniforms seemed to see the uniform as giving responsibility, not power. The guy at the restaurant understood that food was a commodity but sometimes it was also medicine.

Oh our way out we saw the fellow standing waiting for a streetcar. I smiled and asked if he was, 'OK.' He said he still felt shaky but he was going home and he'd be ok. 'Good,' I said, 'Take care of yourself.'

He nodded and with the strength given him from a stir fry and a gentle hand, got on the streetcar.

10 comments:

Clay said...

Good story. I'm not sure it would have had such a good ending here...

Gretchen said...

As a security guard myself, who too often sees my co-guards and plainclothes folks showing the callousness that only this sort of work can give, I'm so glad to hear that some people doing this job know how to care. That person is a role model for me, even though we've never met.

wheelboy and son said...

touching story

OhWheely . . said...

Yesterday a parcel delivery guy gave me his key fob cos it had a gadget to stop me dropping my keys (again). Don't even know the company's name.

Kindness exists sometimes even in the darkest corners.

Ginny said...

Stories like this one leave me weeping. And help me face another day; thank you so much for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, there are good ones out there! Congrats to the company for hiring such a great employee. Both should be commended.

The Untoward Lady said...

That woman is just another example of the assumption of ownership of the disabled by the abled in our culture.

One Sick Mother said...

Great story.

However, as someone who has collapsed in public several times, I can't help but wonder if a collapsing woman would be treated the same way?

OSM

Kristin said...

SO glad there are still people like that out and about in the world today. Stories like that are so reassuring.

CJ said...

I have memberships at two health cubs. I mostly go to one, as doctors work out there a lot. I figure if I'm going to collapse, I might as well do it there, as those doctors will know what to do.