A rare helping hand | RecordCourier.com

A rare helping hand

Matt Harwood


During a recent trip to a local Walmart, I noticed an elderly woman moving around on her hands and knees. At first glance, it appeared as though she lost something and was looking for it on the floor. It took less than a second to realize she had fallen and was having difficulty getting up on her own. I saw a stranger making an effort to assist her. I stopped to help the stranger get the elderly woman to her feet and into a chair. After a brief conversation, I learned the person who fell was a gem of a gal. She very firmly told me (and the other stranger rendering aid) she was fine, not in any pain, and didn’t want the fire department coming for her.

We coordinated the use of a wheel chair and escorted her to her husband’s car. We helped get her into the car so her husband, who was also elderly and very appreciative, could get her home.

Sounds like a wonderful story. The problem is, this person fell in front of a room full of people getting their nails done. The amount of people who witnessed this doubles when you figure in the people doing the nails. Other people present were the dozens of average citizens and the cashiers at WalMart.

The entire time I spent with with this magnificent woman, who has contributed to society for the better part of eighty years, only two people stopped what they were doing to help her. She was literally two feet away from a group of people getting their nails done and employees doing the nails. Not a single one got up to help or offer some sort of assistance. Not a single employee of WalMart offered their help until we specifically requested the use of a wheel chair to get her where she wanted to go.

Then there was the “I’m a licensed so and so” who offered the opinion we should have done more to assess any potential injuries. The person who fell had no complaint of pain, was moving around well, and just wanted to get home. She specifically said she was fine and did not want medical attention. I figured she would be the one in the know, and why destroy the dignity she has left after falling in front of a lot of people who refused to help. And thanks for your assessment from the sideline after the fact. If you were watching, you should have helped.

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I am a Generation X kid. We started the “selfish, entitled, my nails are more important thought process,” but this was an all-time low by people even older than me who should have known better. I’m lucky to have had good parents. I hope no one abandons me like that when I need help.

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