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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 04:54 AM

Am I wrong in this belief?

Tonight on my way home I saw a young man standing at the bus stop. It's 38 degrees outside. At 3:30 in the morning all the buses have stopped running. Paul says I should not have stopped and offered to assist him. I disagree. Because he was so adamant about it, I did not, and I'm feeling bad about it.

Which is right? Help someone in need, like I would want someone to help me, or worry that something might happen if you do help them?

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Am I wrong in this belief? (Original post)
WillParkinson Nov 2012 OP
Drunken Irishman Nov 2012 #1
Live and Learn Nov 2012 #2
pugetres Nov 2012 #3
babylonsister Nov 2012 #4
WiffenPoof Nov 2012 #5
Live and Learn Nov 2012 #6
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #10
ReRe Nov 2012 #7
Squinch Nov 2012 #19
cali Nov 2012 #8
FSogol Nov 2012 #11
Phentex Nov 2012 #16
ReRe Nov 2012 #23
Shankapotomus Nov 2012 #9
oldbanjo Nov 2012 #12
cali Nov 2012 #13
Squinch Nov 2012 #20
Phentex Nov 2012 #17
reggaehead Nov 2012 #14
Android3.14 Nov 2012 #15
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #21
Phentex Nov 2012 #18
Protalker Nov 2012 #22
redStateBlueHeart Nov 2012 #24
GETTINGTIRED Nov 2012 #27
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #25
bigwillq Nov 2012 #26
liberal_at_heart Nov 2012 #28
Kali Nov 2012 #29
roody Nov 2012 #30
DirkGently Nov 2012 #31
fishwax Nov 2012 #32
JaneyVee Nov 2012 #33
H2O Man Nov 2012 #34

Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 05:00 AM

1. Hard to say, but sometimes it's best to err on the side of caution.

It also depends. You make it sound as if Paul was with you? If there's two people in the car, that changes my view somewhat. If you were alone, no, it's probably not a good idea. It sucks, but I've seen enough horror movies to know it's never a good idea (of course, some pornos start out that way too, so...).

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 05:01 AM

2. It is tough to decide sometimes. I think in a case like this you just

have to go with your gut instinct and hope it was the right choice.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 05:07 AM

3. No. You aren't wrong.

If it within your power to help, help.

I can imagine some awful things that could happen but I...

It is possible to help and to also keep yourself in a place where you feel safe. Call me naive. But, it is possible.

Why in the heck did your silly post hit me this way?

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 05:15 AM

4. Maybe he was waiting for his ride,

but I do love your compassion.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 05:41 AM

5. Help - That's What I Would Have Done

I know that there is a possibility that it could be risky but...

I sort of equate it with owning a handgun. Other family members have asked me why I refuse to have any guns in my house. First, there are grandkids that come over...but more to the point. I'm asked what if you needed to defend your home? I usually say that I would rather be a statistic than have a gun in my house...it's a matter of principle. They think I'm crazy.

Paige (A Male Version)

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Response to WiffenPoof (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:13 AM

6. +1 nt

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Response to WiffenPoof (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:16 AM

10. You are

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:36 AM

7. Well, if you're a religious man

and a Christian in particular, this is what Jesus said: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto ME." Which I interpret as "treat others as if they were Me." That that person could have been Jesus standing there in the cold dark night. If you truly profess that kind of religion, then I guess you would stop. If you are a man of true faith, you would stop, even though your life might have been threatened. If you're true to your beliefs, you have NO FEAR. Could have been, he was waiting on a ride. I say you did the safe thing for yourself at the moment. If you had continued to feel guilty after getting home, you could call him a cab. Yeah, he was probably waiting on a ride, so don't worry about it. I don't know where you live, but if it's a city, a cop would be sauntering by soon and would stop to see what he was up to and maybe even give him a ride just to get him off the street. Stop feeling guilty.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #7)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:42 AM

19. As a woman, I think yours is the best answer: ask him if he's waiting for a ride, if not offer to

call him a cab and if he needs it, give him the cash to pay for it.

Ain't no way I'm going to feel safe with a stranger in my car at 3:30 in the morning.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:40 AM

8. I have never regretted stopping to assist someone or picking up a hitchhiker

but I think it's totally up to how you feel. There is no right or wrong here.

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Response to cali (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:18 AM

11. Same here. n/t

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Response to cali (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:09 AM

16. Same here.

I tend to give rides to women more often than men, but it's sort of a case by case thing.

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Response to cali (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 04:20 PM

23. I have been a good Samaritan many times... in my younger years

and never ever regretted it. Found this guy on the side of the street one time after I left work in the middle of the night with his head bleeding profusely, hollering for help. I wrapped my lab coat around his head and took him to the nearest ER. Did get my lab coat back entirely soaked in blood. Took it home, threw it in the bathtubfull of cold H2O, then into a washer with hottest H2O and about a gallon of bleach & a ton of soap. Came clean as a whistle.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:59 AM

9. It's an odd choice

We're supposed to be a "united" nation, one big tribe and yet we can't realistically trust each other in a situation like that. Something must have gone terribly wrong in our social evolution if we have to feel that risk when offering to help someone.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:24 AM

12. I am shocked at the comments that I have read

on this post. You should not stop, today there are so many drugs on the street that it would be crazy for anyone to stop. If your a woman alone in a car and you know the person you would be taking a chance stopping. If you pick them up and get stopped by a cop and they throw drugs under the seat in your car you will go to jail. Today you should pick up no one.

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Response to oldbanjo (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:35 AM

13. I just don't feel that way.

Granted, I no longer get out of Vermont much and there really is a sense of community here. I often pick up young, scraggly looking men and almost invariably they are hitching 40 miles or more to a job. They are always so grateful- even if I can only take them a few miles.

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Response to cali (Reply #13)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:46 AM

20. I think everyone's answer here is dependent on their location. Rural, urban, people driving by or

deserted road. The answer changes.

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Response to oldbanjo (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:18 AM

17. Most of the time it's a trip to the train station...

Especially for women with young children. I picked up a guy in the pouring rain once and drove him home. The few minutes for me was a four mile walk for him. I don't drive to places i'm not familiar with. I am always the one to offer a ride. I think the person out to harm me would be the one looking for a ride.

I think i frightened a guy once after he said he knew i must be a good christian lady and i told him i was not a believer.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:55 AM

14. 90%

I would have stopped. But, that's me. There is no right and wrong here. But, 38 is pretty cool

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:06 AM

15. Thirty-eight is not that cold

That's long-sleeve shirt weather or sweater. I would have called the police and asked them to check on the guy. In Maine, a good PD will check it out without hassling the guy, and even give a person a ride without even hinting at arrest. They live there too.
-Maine resident from Texas

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:56 AM

21. This Californain would disagree with you.

38 degrees is long john, sweater and parka weather.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:20 AM

18. I try to use good judgement...

And wanting to help outweighs my fear.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:08 AM

22. Mexican heroin

I work in a picture perfect small town in Ohio which is riddled with opiates. I advise all people to use judgement.
The road to hell is pavedcwith good intention.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:19 PM

24. I don't really think you were in the wrong

This might be me speaking as a woman, but if I was driving late at night and saw a guy waiting for a ride I don't think I would stop - not because I didn't want to help, but because I'd feel it was in my best interest to err on the side of caution. This is especially true if I was alone. If the guy was elderly, it might make a difference.

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Response to redStateBlueHeart (Reply #24)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:26 PM

27. short story but true

My mother just passed thru a toll booth and saw an elderly woman walking along side of the road she drove past aways and then pulled over to pick the woman up. Carefully watching in her rear view she watched the old woman raise her long skirt up to begin a sprint to reach my mothers vehicle ...exposing jeans and men's shoes my mother took off just as the person reached for her BACK DOOR HANDLE....you never know sometimes if what your seeing IS what your seeing...

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:31 PM

25. What makes you think he needed help? Maybe he was waiting for his ride.

I mean, did he ask you for help or indicate in some way he needed help?

If you're convinced he needed help...I'm sorry, but it's just too dangerous to approach a total stranger in the middle of night, when you're by yourself, without others around. That's asking for it. You could, I suppose, have called to him from across a parking lot, with you staying in your car...but he might've then approached your car, and you would've been obliged to lower your window.

It's just too dangerous. If he needed help, he'd be in a more populous area. If he was really cold, he would've hunkered down somewhere, out of the wind, and away from being out there all alone and vulnerable to crazy people. Maybe he wasn't afraid of crazy people because he's one of them?

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 06:49 PM

26. I would not have stopped

But there's no right or wrong answer here. Up to the individual person to decide to stop or not.

I don't trust anyone really so I would not have stopped for this reason. He can figure out how to get to the next place he needs to go without my help.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:35 PM

28. my husband was almost mugged last week

out in broad daylight. Luckily a couple of people did pass by and ask if my husband was okay. My husband who is legally blind and uses a cane quickly said he did not know this person so the strangers asked the person bothering my husband to be on his way. He did, and my husband hurried to the nearest bus and came straight home. It is sad that we have to second guess whether to help someone. If not for those strangers who intervened to help my husband he could have been hurt or killed but they were out in public in the middle of the day. I would say really listen to your instincts. If you feel the slightest bit of uneasiness don't do it. Isolation is usually not a safe position to put yourself in and giving someone a ride in a car is putting yourself in an isolated position. Help when you know you can help, but be cautious.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:38 PM

29. I drive a beat up truck and usually have a few dogs with me

so I will almost always offer to help or give a ride if I can. if they are willing to put up with the hair and dirt or even ride in the back I will take them to the next exit/town/whatever.

dog knows I have needed the help enough damn times myself. and it us usually other poor people in beaters that stop. we are all in this together.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:42 PM

30. If you had an extra sweater in the car,

you could have given it to him. My car is full of clothes because I am disorganized.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 07:48 PM

31. Question of judgment in context, not right or wrong.


The impulse to help is good. The observation that you don't know what you're getting into stopping your car for a stranger whose situation you do not know in the middle of the night is also valid. This wasn't someone standing by a stranded vehicle, or someone waving for help, right?

An intermediate step would have been to stop, roll down the window, and inquire. "Do you need help?" Possible the person was meeting someone. Also possible he was homeless, which would open up another set of questions and options. In any event, you'd have a chance to evaluate who you were dealing with, which I'm sure you would have done anyway.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 08:00 PM

32. I don't think there's really a right or wrong here

One has to do what one is comfortable with. And a lot depends on factors specific to the incident (such as knowledge of the area). It sounds like Paul was with you at the time? Personally, I think it likely that in most such cases there is fairly little danger, but in such cases I also think it's important to respect one's companion's comfort level with the situation.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:11 PM

33. You should have offered the info that buses have stopped running

Maybe the guy was just waiting for a ride and it was a good "landmark" to tell someone to meet. If it's not too much trouble you could offer some assistance, maybe $5 for a taxi ride. Safety first always though.

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Response to WillParkinson (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 09:15 PM

34. The question isn't

"what might happen to me if I stop to help this stranger?" -- it is "what will I become if I refuse to help?" ..... paraphrasing Martin Luther King, Jr.

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