That Moment of Hesitation of Stopping to ask if Someone Needs Help

I remember growing up, one time my Dad had picked up a hitch hiker. I have the worst memory ever, but for some reason this memory surfaces every so often when I see someone hitch hiking. The man my Dad picked up had this blue thing in the back of his pocket that looked, to me, as a handle to a knife. I recall being slightly scared but I also knew that my Dad had everything under control, should something bad happen. As a child I always remember my Dad being that person who everyone seemed to like, but piss him off or mess with him then all heck is breaking loose. I felt safe. No harm was done, the hitch hiker made it wherever and we made it home safely. Who knows maybe it wasn’t even a hitch hiker, could have been one of my Dad’s friends, I was a kid after all so details really wouldn’t have made sense back then.

Helping others

Fast forward to close to present day, ever since becoming a mother I have become this paranoid overly cautious woman. Combine that nature of overly cautious with the politically correct society we live in and well that could mean a mess of a mind the average person may live with. You see, it’s not like when I was a child, I recall things being said, shared on TV and what not that were so not the most appropriate or nice things to say. I recall my older relatives having to really try hard to “make the team” and people were pushed to be all they could be and to “suck it up” if they didn’t like it. Your neighbor would give you sugar should you need it and you could know your neighborhood “family” by their first names, as if everyone has this huge helping hand neighborhood.

These days it seems less and less people have that feeling of unity with the average person. We tend to be too wrapped up in our own selves to stop for anyone else, but not every human is that way. Take my aunt for example, one of my aunts wrote on Facebook one day that she, after watching numerous people drive by, stopped to help someone out. Neighbor helping neighbor. My aunt did not know this person, she is simply built with a kind heart and saw a person in need. She felt comfortable and as if it was her place, like it should have felt for others, to stop and help out this stranger who appeared to be needing some help. I was so touched by reading that Facebook update, but must admit it didn’t surprise me, my aunt has a very kind heart and soul.

WWW Brawlin Buddy 3I pass hitch hikers all of the time, I will not pick them up. I wouldn’t in the past and I sure as heck won’t now. I will, however, lend a helping hand for anyone who needs it if I can. Case in point, this past week there was a woman on a bicycle who appeared to be needing help. I see this woman daily, she has been riding her bike up and down this road for years, even back when I was a kid she was doing it. The woman, I have no clue who she is, was on the side of the road, she appeared okay but her bicycle was laying on the ground, on the side of the road, in such a fashion that my mind thought “maybe she needs help”. My first thought was that but my second thought was “she is somewhat older, do I offend this woman if I stop and she doesn’t need help?”, do I drive by and allow that thought of offending someone I was simply trying to be nice to win over my thought of helping another human being? I decided to stop.

It was too funny because even my kids find it odd that I stopped, well my sons did, as my oldest wasn’t with me that particular afternoon. I stopped, rolled down my window and asked “are you okay? Do you need any help?” As I spoke those words, I was nervous, because my mind was thinking “gosh is this woman going to take offense I stopped?!”, but the lady was very kind, she sort of laughed and said she didn’t need any help, she was okay, just had stopped to take a sip of her water or something like that. I replied okay, just wanted to be sure. The woman must have realized that I felt awkward or unsure of stopping because I probably wore my “oops my bad, now I am embarrassed” facial expression, so after she sort of laughed at me, she hesitated and said “but thank you for stopping I do appreciate that”. I said “you are welcome”.  And I drove off.

Why is it not the norm for someone to see a person who appears to possibly need help, to stop and check that they are okay? IS that the world my kids are going to be adults in? A world that has such self absorbed, politically correct, walking on egg shells, everyone stick to their own self type of mentality? I sure as heck hope not, but the sad thing is that is what I see each day I live in this society. The good thing is that there are still those, like my aunt, who will stop and lend a hand to anyone in need if they are able to do so.

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman /

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  1. I would never pick up a hitch hiker this day in age, either. Frankly, I haven’t seen one in many, MANY years, though. It’s hard to know when it’s safe to stop and offer help. I am as paranoid about helping strangers as you – especially if the kids are with me, but it’s such a nice feeling to know you’ve made a difference.

  2. There have been a lot of stories recently about incidents if people stop to check on others. We have become an overly cautious society, which is a double edged sword. But your heart told you to stop and for your kids, it was a teaching moment.

  3. I’m torn. It depends on the situation. When I get that feeling that I should help someone, I often times do not out of fear of safety. Sad, I know, but true. I have the kids w/me almost always, but even if I don’t, I worry that something could happen to me and they won’t have a mom.

    My oldest two boys (24 and 19) help, and they make me proud. This summer we were at the lake and a boat was stuck coming in. There were a bazillion people around and my son was waaaay on the other side, not close (but we could see what was going on) and he went and helped. Proud mommy moment. I don’t understand why ANYONE wouldn’t help in a situation like that ( I would have if I’d have been right there), but not one person was lifting a finger. Crazy thing, that…

    Kudos to your aunt for lending a hand.

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