human connection

Oh, the Humanity

I wept the other day. My tears weren’t tears of joy, nor tears of sadness, nor even of frustration. They were tears of connection.

human connection

Tessa and I were in an urban area, headed home during rush hour. Stopped in traffic, I pointed out an elderly lady ambling on the sidewalk, noting how she reminded me of the grandmother who had lived with one of our friends. The woman struck me, at quick glance, as disoriented, which was part of the resemblance. Last year, our friend’s grandmother died with Alzheimer’s disease.

As the light changed and we began to move, we witnessed the woman trip and fall to the ground. It was horrible and shocking to see — her face broke her fall. I moved into the left lane so I could turn and park, calling 911 while doing so. Tessa ran from our car to help the lady.

Another passerby was already there, a young man who had helped the woman to lean against him. Her hand was bleeding profusely, sliced along the side of her palm. Another woman ran up and offered her sweater as a tourniquet.

In the meantime, the 911 operator asked me to stay on the line until paramedics arrived. Was the woman conscious? Yes, but she wasn’t talking much. When I asked where she hurt, she mumbled that her hand needed to be fixed up, yet she refused the proffered sweater.

Quite a bump was appearing on her cheekbone, red and angry. I noticed another older bruise on her forehead.

Over the next eight minutes, perhaps a half-dozen more people came to offer help. Each of them was concerned, caring, connected to her and thus to the other helpers.

The fire truck soon arrived and two firemen took over. I’ve thought of that lady often since that afternoon, and I hope she is well and with her people to care for her.

When there is so much unkindness in the world that we start to expect unkindness from each other, it was overwhelming to witness all this goodness. Sheer goodness, sheer human kindness. As Tessa and I returned to our car, I began to shake not only from the adrenaline letdown and the chilly wind, but also from the experience of witnessing all that goodness.

We passersby dispersed to our lives. Perhaps like me, they were touched by our accidental connection, too.

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Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

21 thoughts on “Oh, the Humanity”

  1. How sad and uplifting at the same time. Sad that the lady was by herself and injured, but uplifting at the same time because so many good people stopped to render aid or just to comfort her. And a real life lesson for Tessa about the fact that compassion and human kindness extends to those we don’t know – whose path randomly crosses our own.

  2. Yes, that experience will stay will you for some time. It carried a lot of emotion and was both a positive and negative experience. I am sure you will continue to reflect on it.

    I found that after you have an experience such as this one, you ‘look’ for ways to help even more. You get bolder at stepping out and lending a hand. Thank you for sharing the ‘goodness’

  3. Thank you for sharing and I feel so good that you stopped to help. Kindness is very important and proud of you for stepping forward. The incident is sad and still shows how humans come to help each other.

  4. This made me cry. Not just for the woman who was hurt but the fact that there are so few stories out there about kindness if I look down my feed. Or maybe I’m just finding them on the personal blogs and not on the main news sites. And that should be my queue as to where I should spend my time.

  5. I’ll be the third one to admit to shedding tears here. What a story of kindness! It’s a good thing to know that despite how easy it is to feel cynical these days, there are many good people out there.

  6. You made me cry too.

    You’re right about is living in an unkind world. People are both very angry and very afraid right now. Yet we all have it within us to come together when most needed. To put down our fists and offer helping hands.

    My thoughts are with this woman. But also with all of you who helped her. May this act of kindness and caring spread and growth

  7. This is lovely. My mother had dementia, and I like to think if something like this had happened to her, she would have had lovely, kind people like you around her, soothing and comforting her.

  8. Beautiful. Thank you for being there for her, and for each other.

    The secretary in our office tripped and fell outside the other day, too, and she reported a similar experience. I’m grateful for these moments that remind us that at the basest level, humans *do* care about each other; I wish that we could channel that care before we wield sharp words and weapons.

  9. I’m glad to see that there are people who will stop to help – sometimes you think that would be practically impossible to find.

  10. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes. In everything I see on the news, this story of human kindness en masse brought some faith in humanity back to me. Beautiful post.

  11. What a gift. I hope she is OK now … those moments of raw connection remind us who we are at our core. ❤ I’m glad you were there to help her, and that everyone came together!

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