Not Likely To Stand by: Should I call SOS?

Have you ever wondered If you should call SOS for someone you personally feel like needs help? Well I’ll share with you my experience that didn’t go quite alright, and let you decide.


Was it fucked up? I don’t know.

I know thats a confusing start. This won’t be one of my most articulate posts. It is with an exasperated, PTSD, fighting off a pannick attack, kind of sigh that I tell this story.

On my way home I got off the bus to a man thinner than I, standing, hunched over, and clinging to his Wheelchair. All of his affects strewn around him. It looked like he had thrown up.  To me there are several red flags. This prompted me to 1. talk to him and then 2. call SOS…

Now… I have known people, friends, mentors, what have you that have lived on the streets. The horror stories of shelters at capacity and cold nights and rude people wring my hear to this day. Seeing this man the way he was, I could not let myself just leave him. So I asked him ” Hey, are you ok? do you need help” He slurred at me, Saying he was exausted and he needed to pick everything up. He said its fine. the words that came out, came in such a way that made me believe with the core of my being, that this person was NOT ok This could could have been one of my friends at one time, and what would I have done for them? I had fear in my heart, a fear that if I left him he might collapse and choke on his own vomit..

Quickie sidebar: The Bystander effect is where people don’t do something to help this one situation at the center of it all… and because nobody is doing anything everyone is afraid to take the first move. This is how people in need lose precious minutes that could save their life….See Wiki’s Bystander effect

On several occations I have reported OD’s and unconcious people intoxicated or otherwise incapasitated. I don’t know If I saved their lives but I know they should not have been left to their own devices… A women clearly passed out after using in the bathroom of a restaraunt… a woman that had just been in a fender bender but was feeling pain in her pregnant belly… all of these situations were fairly black and white as to whether or not they needed emergency help.

At this point, I’m breaking down writing this. because the next part wrenches my heart… This situation was well… Kind of grey…  I called SOS. I asked them to send someone to just check him out. I thought that they would send an ambulance… and the paramedic would check him out.. maybe give him some water and if he didn’t want to get into the ambulance they can’t force him. well I sat with this man. I talked to him… Thats how it usually goes..

As soon as the help arrived (which help apparently meant 1 fire engine and an ambulance… a little overkill…) this man turned from being sick looking and feable to flailing and swearing and telling the ambulance and paramedics and everyone including myself to fuck off… He looked at me dead in the face and said “That was really fucked up”

I backed off.. scared. PTSD welled up inside me and I left regretting everything. Fighting off one mighty pannick attack. Maybe it was fucked up, maybe I did wrong by him. and I don’t know how I can care so much about a man that I don’t even know.

I don’t know what to take from this… to be honest I’m still worked up and all I want is a damn hug…

I would say follow your intuition, but clearly sometimes your intuition puts your mental state at risk. People that clearly need help don’t always want it. I suppose we have to respect it to some degree… if someone is talking to you and responding to your questions… maybe they’re ok. Again I have no idea what to make of this event, but I would love to hear your opinion. Please forgive this hastey post, I usually edit to oblivion but today, is not that day.


Stay cosy friends…


Note: If you ever need someone to talk to please know that if you are at a loss, I am here. You are loved. You are worth the time to help, and you are above all else, a beautiful cosy soul. Thank you for being you.

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