ABC News decided to put people in ethical situations on a show called What Would You Do? I recently saw a segment during which an out of control soccer coach harassed a kid in a public park, screaming that he was stupid and forcing him to do exercises again and again. The point was to examine whether or not passersby would intervene.
In another segment, a older woman couldn't pay for a prescription at the pharmacy. Quite a few people offered to help. But when a young woman played the same scene only one person offered to help.
When I was in high school, as my friend C and I we walked to our car at the mall, we came across an enraged man screaming at a woman. Two kids huddled behind her. C and I marched up to the man and yelled, "Stop!" at him.
He laughed at us.
We yelled again saying that he couldn't treat her that way and that his behavior was wrong and we told her to come with us. She and the kids followed us to our car. We got in and locked the doors as he screamed, "Fine! You have nowhere to go." Then he walked away.
Everybody cried for a few minutes. Then I asked, "Where should we take you?"
She said, "He's right. I have nowhere to go."
C and I didn't know what to do. We were 17 year old kids and it was 1989. It's not like we could have googled an abuse hotline, called from the car and driven to the nearest shelter. We didn't have any resources.
I still pray for that woman and her kids.
I also admire what gutsy kids C and I were. I don't know how I would react to that situation now, as an adult. I would definitely get help, but I'm not sure I'd march right up to an enraged abuser.
Anyway, the question is, have you ever intervened to help a stranger?
4 years ago