Do you ever wonder if, in the face of danger, you would risk yourself to save someone in dire need, or flee the scene, or stand there in gape-mouthed befuddlement?
I'm not asking just because of the recent 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks I'm also asking because earlier this week a group of strangers on a street in Logan, Utah, were videoed coming together to help save a man despite some risk to themselves.
After a motorcycle and car crashed on the street, the motorcycle started on fire. The video, taken from inside a nearby office building, starts here.
As the blaze spread to the engine compartment of the car, a construction worker ran over to look under the car's front end and saw that the motorcyclist was trapped underneath. Pretty quickly another construction worker and a few bystanders came together to try lifting the car off of what they figured was a dead motorcyclist.
The five people barely budged the car, so one of the women helping laid down on the pavement to look at the motorcyclist, and once she announced that the man was alive more bystanders rushed in to help. With about a dozen people lifting and pushing, the car was tipped up and the motorcyclist dragged out to safety. Go ahead and clap now.
Also caught on camera was one poor schlep in a suit and tie standing around, getting in people's way and not helping one lick of a bit to lift the car or drag the guy out — or even count one-two-three, heave-ho. At one point, however, he did take a break to lean on the car's trunk lid. Thanks for that, man.
The evil voice in my head hopes the suit went to work and bragged about helping save some guy's life, then had to suffer harassment once the video hit the news fan.
But realistically, I understand that some people just aren't good in emergencies, and we can't fault him for it. In fact, we should be thankful he was sporting a business suit rather than a law enforcement, military or fireman uniform at the moment he discovered he was not cut out to wear a cape and save the day.
Still, the question is out there: What kind of person are you?
Me? Honestly, I don't think I'm a "run toward the burning fireball of the World Trade Center in hopes of saving a few people before it collapses" kind of hero, but I like to think I'm a "lend my strong back to tip a car off a guy" kinda chick. I'm OK with that. I'm not in uniform or a cape.
This, though, is my fear: I will come to someone's aid, but bungle the job.
I'm not talking about putting the tourniquet on the wrong arm kind of bumbling. I'm talking about helping to tip the car off the guy, but unthinkingly pushing on the window instead of the frame, breaking the glass, cutting open a major artery and requiring more immediate medical attention than the squished guy left sprawled like a starfish on the pavement after being drug backward from under a car.
Or slipping and falling under the car just as it's dropped back down, but the group of helpful strangers is too exhausted to lift it a second time and none of the gape-mouthed lookie-Lou's are willing to step in. I'm left floundering around on the pavement, cussing and spitting on the flames to keep them away from my trapped leg.
My even-bigger fear? My bumbling will be caught on a video that goes viral on the Internet with over 10 million views, plus coverage on every major TV network. And some website called RescueFail.com will play the video backward — making it look like I kick the car off myself and stand to help tip the car up so we can slide the motorcyclist back under it — doesn't really help my cause.
(Don't even mention the late night talk show jokes at http://viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)