Would you rush to the aid of a stranger if you heard them screaming out in pain? You might look to see who was having trouble. What would you do once you found out that they were homeless? That’s the situation one woman found herself in one day. Her friends weren’t keen on helping out and they stayed back, but she decided that she couldn’t just stand by and watch a fellow human being in pain. She shares her story 2 years later, and I wonder, like her, whatever became of the man on the sidewalk struggling with an injury…
Two years ago, I was drawing in Bryant Park and I heard someone yelling. Not yelling out of anger or fear, but out of pain. I put down my charcoal and followed the noise, and I found a thin old man trying to flush a wound with Hand Sanitzer on his foot, as his friend sat solemnly beside him. I asked him if he needed help and he replied with ‘I don’t want to lose my foot. I can’t go to a doctor.’
Knowing that hand Sanitzer isn’t the best choice for open wounds, I ran to the nearest bathroom, got as many paper towels wet with soap and water as I could, sat on the ground, and gently cleaned around his wound. He had a grubby old ace bandage around his guitar case handle, so I used some tissues from my bag to protect the wound and wrapped his foot. He was silent the entire time, as I told him how to care for his wound and watch for infection, his friend looking on with interest. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said ‘You are my angel today.’
He spent the next hour playing sweet songs on guitar for me, and I sang along to the few that I knew. I even played some back for him, as clumsy as my picking was at the time. We talked about space, the universe, how he nearly lost everything and about his hopes and dreams. Hours passed before I left, on the promise that he would take care of himself. Tears were in both our eyes as we parted.
This was two years ago. I still think of him every day. I am eternally grateful for him and the friendship we shared.”
What would you have done? While many would have taken pity on the poor man, most people would probably would have called an ambulance anyway. Is that wrong? He had an open wound that needed actual medical care. I’m sure he had his reasons, but this story broke my heart. I hope that he is doing well, and I’m glad this woman decided to share her story with social media.
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