I'm not brave. I'm not good in an emergency. I don't like that I'm this way, but I am, for now. In an emergency, I panic and almost start to shake. My knees feel as if they will buckle, and my hands tremble, especially if whatever I'm in the middle of is important/serious. Last year, when I stopped to help a mother whose little girl had just hit her head on a shop window, I almost couldn't get my phone out to call the ambulance the mother asked me to call in her hysteria. I couldn't tell them what street we were on, nor remember to stay on the line. My hysteria was a little more contained than the girl's mother's , but it was certainly there- I was still shaking hours later. But the one thing I did do right was stop.
Today, on my way home from university with my friend, I was almost run over by a person on a bike. At the same time, we passed a girl who looked to be about 15- she was barefoot, clad only in a blue nightgown and a hospital blanket, a strange expression on her face, walking at a slow, steady pace. This scene taking place about 400 metres from the Royal Women's Hospital is something that should alert most people to the fact that something is wrong. But I saw her, and like the other pedestrians around us, I did not stop to help. My friend, however, is braver than I, and once she registered what she had seen, she turned us back towards the girl and asked her if she was okay. She barely looked up, mumbled responses and never stopped walking. We took this as a bad sign- my friend also noted her lips were blue- and walked back as fast as we could to the hospital in order to alert someone to her location. We got our message across, and left. But I cannot help thinking that if I had been alone, I would probably have walked right by, knowing that I should have stopped. I am not brave. And I should be.