People held umbrellas over the people holding umbrellas over him
February 9, 2014 5:13 AM   Subscribe

A man collapses on Oxford Street, London, England and convulses in a fit. Bystanders rush over and help. That evening, on Twitter, victim and helpers find each other again and tell their stories.
posted by MartinWisse (16 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Umbrellas all the way down...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:35 AM on February 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

What a nice story. Also, the tweet about, "I am only sharing this because I don't know what to do with it" is so telling. People talk about "oversharing" and not being in the moment when you're on social media, but sometimes, it feels like you're all alone in something, even when you're in a crowd, and telling someone in real-time relieves something in you.
posted by xingcat at 5:44 AM on February 9, 2014 [28 favorites]

Cool. Imagine if they had twitter in Samaria, Christ could have told that story and people would be all: "oh yeah dude I read about that guy actually, he's trending right now #benicetostrangers".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:14 AM on February 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm torn between thinking of those twitter feeds as some weird 21st century kind of rubbernecking and then being filled with hope that maybe the human race actually has nice people in it
posted by angrycat at 6:27 AM on February 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just the way a mob can turn nasty in an instant, who is to say that social media sharing can't turn that mob into good samaritans?
posted by infini at 6:43 AM on February 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I feel like i contributed to the reuscitation of the fittee just by clicking here.
posted by Colonel Panic at 6:57 AM on February 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

I was on the subway once when the woman sitting next to me stood up and then collapsed and had a seizure. The train was about a quarter full and everyone was wonderful - when she started banging her head into the floor I was able to put a folded up shirt under her head to cushion it slightly, another guy who had a family member with seizures let people know to not try to move her, someone alerted the conductor of the train, a couple of women held her purse to keep it safe, and when she stopped seizing people comforted her (in English and Spanish) and prevented her from trying to move between train cars (she was pretty out of it) until we came to a station.

One guy got pissy about it when the train arrived at the station and the conductor came to bring her out to the emergency personnel. Pretty much the entire train car turned and told him to shut the hell up.

It made me feel good about living in New York City.

I always wondered what happened to her so this story was good to read.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:20 AM on February 9, 2014 [11 favorites]

posted by scody at 9:52 AM on February 9, 2014

This is now officially my second favourite Storify about what a small world it is.

(First place goes, of course, to The Ballad of Tim and Freya.)
posted by the latin mouse at 10:46 AM on February 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's a good day to be reminded that maybe people really are basically nice and concerned. Thank you.
posted by korej at 10:55 AM on February 9, 2014

Coincidentally, my date told me yesterday that when she moved into her current London neighbourhood, there was a sign on the street, hung by an old lady who had slipped, thanking the people who had helped her (the lady). They had brought her blankets and waited with her and she wanted to thank them publicly.
posted by ersatz at 11:12 AM on February 9, 2014

I like to think that the majority of people are essentially good. I like seeing this confirmed.
posted by arcticseal at 11:46 AM on February 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hmm, this is interesting. A few years ago I visited Scotland on a family trip and the first place we went to was the town of Sterling. I was walking around and came across a small crowd of people just moments after a man had had a seizure and smashed his head on a fire hydrant. His friends were trying to help him but it didn't appear that anyone in the crowd had called emergency services. I didn't have a phone on me so I couldn't do it myself, so I mostly figured it was under control, but I found it very weird that no one in the small crowd had called for an ambulance. My girlfriend has epilepsy and has had one seizure publicly, but thankfully it was at school and not on the street somewhere so there were emergency services very quickly. I would hope and expect that if something like this happened to her that the public would help out, ditto if it were me or anyone else.

Before typing this out I read through the comments and a lot of them seem skeptical about the overall good of people and enjoy the reassurance that there are some good people out there. I've always just figured there are both good and bad people of varying quality and have never really seen things such as this as exceptional evidence that there are actually good people existing out there somewhere. If I were in an emergency situation in public I would definitely hope someone would help me, and I'd definitely expect it. If no one did and I was just left there to possibly die I'd be terribly depressed, but I am not so sure that it'd diminish my belief that there are good people out there.

So I don't really know what I'd be defined as. I'm obviously not cynical, I just expect things.
posted by gucci mane at 12:26 PM on February 9, 2014

Gucci, this is a classic example of the Bystander effect. In your story, it sounds as if you were in a good position to take charge and start having people go for help.
posted by endotoxin at 12:44 PM on February 9, 2014

Yeah I didn't really know what was going on. I literally had landed in the country maybe a half-hour before this and didn't know what their emergency code was, and also didn't have a cell phone. He was with two other people (as confirmed by someone I asked) and they were helping him to his feet, and that's how I know he had a seizure. I figured it was okay because his two friends were with him and knew what was going on, everyone else was just sort of a crowd. When my girlfriend had her seizure at school she didn't go to the hospital either, but she definitely went to the nurse.
posted by gucci mane at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2014

Umbrellas on Oxford Street. This may be the only instance of them being used in the service of helping passer-bys.
posted by panaceanot at 12:40 AM on February 11, 2014

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