One day last week during my commute, an old man fell as he came into the bus. My heart broke as I could see that the old man was visibly shaken. He kept on wiping at his chin and now I could see it was bleeding. I found tissue from my bag and I went up to give it to him. As I approached him, I could see that there was a three inch long and quarter inch wide gash on his face. I quickly took the tissues and held them against his face. I quickly told the bus driver what happened and he called an ambulance to meet us downtown. With one hand I held the tissue tight with one hand and I held the old man’s hand with the other. He tried to talk to me but his lip was too swollen for me to understand. I tried to get him to relax, explain that he was very badly cut and that we would need stitches. Once downtown, I stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. Yes, I missed my transfer but this was more important than arriving to my class on time.
The bus driver needed my contact info for an accident report. He told me that this old man has fallen many times before on the bus. Although he did not know for certain, he suspected that he didn’t have anyone taking care of him.
As I left the bus a Muslim lady came up to me with tears in her eyes what a nice thing I had done. I didn’t do it for the accolades, I saw a need and acted. I don’t know if I was crashing after the adrenaline rush but I started crying too. We parted ways and I walked to the mall to wait for the next bus. As I washed the blood from my hands, I began crying again. This time it was from the guilt that I had not stayed longer or found a way to know if he was alright. It took blood running down an old man’s face for me to realize how I couldn’t see the needs of those around me.
How often do I not look at people in the eye? There are people I see everyday that I don’t acknowledge. I put my head phones on and cut myself off. I live in a society that is so connected yet so disconnected. I communicate daily with people far away but I don’t see the needs of the people around me. I have been thinking so much lately about how I can use social media in the classroom but how can a create a sense of community in the classroom? Isn’t part of using social media responsibly, caring of others? I have a lot to think about.