Refusing to help

Tonight as I was walking home down Chestnut St., I saw two visibly intoxicated guys greet each other like long lost friends. Who knows, maybe they were. They embraced wildly and as one of them stepped back out of the hug, he tripped on the front steps of a brownstone and fell backwards.


This all happened just as I was walking by, and as I passed he was still on the ground, and he reached his hand up towards me and asked for help up. And I didn’t give it. I pulled my arms in and shook my head and said I’m sorry. In my defense, there was a burning cigarette in the hand he put out to me, but even if his hand had been empty, I’m not sure I would have taken it.

I’m feeling a bit guilty about this, because I refused to help him. I don’t think I’ve ever flat out refused help to someone who was asking for it, who could have potentially been hurt.

What would you have done?

0 thoughts on “Refusing to help

  1. aasmodeus

    Interesting question. I suppose it depends on how I was feeling at the time, what I was doing (where I was going, in a rush? etc.), how beligerent they were or seemingly friendly, and how they asked for help. And regardless of the reasons, I’m sure I too would be feeling guilty afterward if I didn’t help, but I’m also very wary in the city, in the dark. I’m just glad you’re safe now, and hope they ended up okay too.

  2. anonymous city girl

    You were a woman alone on the street with two potentially drunk (it is possible the drunkin’ state could have been a ruse of some sort) men.
    Do women need to be reminded of Ted Bundy, who would show up with a cast on his arm and charming as could be???
    The state of the world today dictates that your self preservation comes first!
    Never open your wallet on the street…
    Never “help” someone with packages to their car…
    It sucks that we have to be on guard like that, but there are stories in the papers everyday of these situations going wrong.
    The only thing you can do in that situation is say you’ll call 911 as you walk to a safe distance.

  3. Luna

    ACG is right. Don’t feel guilty.

    I would have done the same, probably walked faster after the encounter. It does make one feel guilty, but in these past few years I have learned that one should not take any chances.

    Now, had it been in a small town, and if i knew most of the people there, now that would have been a slightly different story.


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