"Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive." -Dalai Lama
It happened the other day at a U.S. International Airport. A man in his flight suit hurrying toward the gate tripped and fell face forward. His Airline cap tumbled a few feet away ahead of him but the rest of him stayed perfectly put together. If you didn't know, you might think he was lying quietly face down. But in a busy airport where there are hundreds of travelers rushing to get somewhere this was not the scene for a quiet slumber.
Most travelers looked as they hurried past and then glanced back for a second look without slowing their pace. A woman hurried past the seeing and avoiding crowd, rushed to the scene and knelt before the gentleman to ascertain his physiological functions. Was he breathing? Does he have a pulse? Is he alive? Did he break a bone? Did he have a seizure? She could not tell. The pulse was feeble, the breath barely audible. She put her hand on his chest and was immediately reprimanded,
“Move away Ma’am!” A stern voice of authority called out.
“But I am just trying to help. I am a nurse.” She pleaded.
“No Ma’am you can’t do that.”
“He might be having a heart attack?” She cried desperately trying to help a fellow human being.
“No Ma’am, I wouldn't touch him, if I were you. It might be considered inappropriate.”
“But…!” She flailed her arms as the police man followed by a female associate pulled her off the floor and gently pushed her away. The wall around the “fallen” was now complete, stern faces on top of six-foot frames were stern and still. The nurse looked bewildered. She was trying to be a Good Samaritan, a human with humanity. And the Police were doing their duty. Somewhere there was a clarion call of the legal eagles: Do not touch. Let the experts take care of the situation rather than face a lawsuit allowing a nurse to take care of the airline captain.
20 minutes to the dot, the wailing siren of the ambulance arrived and the EMT personnel expeditiously transferred the gentleman into the ambulance and with them, the sirens receded into the background.
What happened to the airline pilot is a mystery.
Imagine what has become of us as a people?
Imagine what this regulatory and legal compliance has wrought on us as humans?
Where has the compassion, the human to human connection gone?
A plague has fallen on the house that George (Washington) built!
Let us clean up this mess together!
"My humanity is bound up in yours. For we can only be human together." -Desmond Tutu