Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Being Present


--by happyncheerful, posted Jan 13, 2008

She looked really pretty, I thought, as I glanced across at the young lady opposite me. Everything from her manicured nails, to her designer sunglasses symbolized that she was the kind of girl who had it all.

I stared at the floor, at the large European woman in the seat next to the pretty lady, and back at the floor. I studied the tube map - again - as if I had to check something important, then starred resolutely back at the floor. I had mastered the art of avoiding eye-contact on the Tube as if my very existence depended on it. I was a Pro.

But, I couldn't help wonder what the pretty lady was doing. I was acting dumb, but I wasn't dead.

Why was she fidgeting so much? She's never going to sleep in that awkward position....is something wrong? She looks like she's drunk, not sleeping. Maybe she has a hangover...God knows, I don't drink - is that what people look like when they have a hangover? Surely she can't be asleep...she looks like she's unconscious.

"Err...excuse me, you ok?" I muttered, leaning forward in my seat.

"No." She barely opened her eyes.

"Are you sick? Are you on some medication?" The train was coming into the station. I really didn't relish helping a drug-addict, but I'd broken the no-contact rule of Tube etiquette - I was committed.

"Nooo." she groaned, her eyes shut, wincing in pain.

"I think we better get off here," I said, supporting her up. Her whole body fell in to me and I hurried with her weight, balancing my bag and practically dragged her off the train...all the while wondering if anyone was going to help, if we should have stayed on board and pulled the emergency cord.

She slumped on to a bench, her head falling limply, her eyes rolling back.

"What's your name?" I called, panicked. This was no drug-addict.

"Caroline."*

"I'm going to get help, Caroline." I tucked my cardigan under her head and rushed towards the emergency intercom. "There's a passenger taken ill on the platform," I shouted.

A guy came down holding a glass of water in a plastic cup. He didn't know any first-aid, it wasn't a requirement of the job, he said, almost apologetically. We called for an ambulance and waited. Caroline seemed to get worse, she couldn't open her eyes, barely squeezed my hand when I asked. I held her in my arms.

I thought she was dying.

The tube guy and I put her in the recovery position, the only thing either of us was vaguely familiar with...and prayed hard.

The paramedics arrived and I moved quickly back into anonymity to let them work. They picked her off the floor (apparently it was the wrong thing to do, the ground was cold, and they had no idea we thought she might be dying). I stood fixed to the spot - in shock I guess, then I suddenly realized I should go; I was invading Caroline's privacy watching her like she was a character on TV.

"Which bus goes to Manor Park Hospital?" I asked the tube guy, as I grabbed my discarded cardigan.

My mum had suffered a stroke that morning.

*Names and location details have been changed.

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Readers Comments

ravi wrote: ...."HE" The SUPREMO..Created And Made the writer Help a lady as if helping his own Mother,who was also having a stroke at the same time.....
brighteyes wrote: Oh boy! What a story....glad you were there with her and got assistance....I am praying for a positive outcome
blunt wrote: I wonder, what would I have done, I really admire you for what you did. Have you ever found out what it was?
AURELIA wrote: Thank you for caring for her needs the best you could. I am sure you saved her life. ~Aurelia
Tigerlily wrote: wow. Hope all turned out well. I'm glad you helped. I wonder... diabetic possibly? Oh... you are a good citizen. Thank you.
Nickgrand wrote: Thank you for shearing!!

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