There is no first cause, only links in a chain of causation. So, in this article, I must start somewhere, and omit mentioning other events prior to that.
In an earlier post, I related how I went to Skegness, and chatted to and took a picture of the lifeguards from RNLI. It was a very positive experience for me, and the guards were all smiles when I left. It got me thinking more seriously about how I can have a positive impact on people.
I am, by nature, a very analytical, unemotional, and cynical person. It’s the Western Disease. I also consider myself a spiritual person, so there is often a conflict between doing good and taking a “somebody else’s problem” attitude.
Last week, I became aware that the BBC was running a series on the RNLI. Needless to say, I felt compelled to watch it.
On Saturday, I attended the Cullen beach gala, which had some volunteers from the MacDuff RNLI. I have started a draft blog article on my experiences there, but I won’t publish it yet until I have spoken to local RNLI Press Officer and incorporated the answers to some questions that I would like answered.
It got me to thinking about the incidents in which I saved lives, in my own humble way. I have two stories to tell, “the school”, and “the escalator”. I will save “the escalator” for another post. Here’s the story of “the school” …
I lived for a spell in Australia, before I was a teenager. A friend and I, Steven, decided to walk around town. It was a weekend, so the schools were closed. We decided to walk along some school grounds. I don’t remember the name of the school, but neither of us attended it.
Steven was a bit of a delinquent, despite coming from a proper, and more prosperous, family. He was also a boy scout. He was something of a bad influence on me, owing to his own less-than-perfect behaviour. I would not necessarily say he had a criminal mentality, or was necessarily a “bad” person. Maybe he was just a young kid who did not know any better, as young kids often don’t.
There was a secluded part of the school. As we walked past it, there was a woman sitting down with her back against the wall. We worked out that she was attempting suicide, having taken a large quantity of drugs. How we worked that out at the time I do not know. I think she actually told us. She also told us not to tell anyone else, so she was clearly intent on carrying through on the suicide.
At this point, my memory is hazy. I can’t remember if it was me, or Steven, who decided to raise help. I think that it was me who insisted upon it, although I am not sure.
So we went back to Steven’s house, if I recall correctly. Bear in mind that this was a long time ago, and my recollection of events may be inaccurate. An ambulance was called.
I seem to recall that we returned to the scene of the incident, where the woman was hauled away. I don’t remember how I got there. I guess Steven’s parents drove us there. I also vaguely recollect some policeman, and a reporter.
The reporter talked to Steven. I interjected with a few comments, but the reporter gave me the brush-off, as she remained focussed on Steven.
I think the story made the local paper. Sometime later, Steven showed my an article from his scouting magazine in which “Steven and a young friend” raised the alarm.
What seemed to stick in my mind was that my recollection was that I was the one whose actions led to a woman’s life being saved, and yet was treated as a non-entity.
It’s not that I begrudged this, so much as being mystified that the adult world seemed to be lionising him, whilst I might as well have not existed.
The incident did not have an emotional impact on me, as I don’t think I fully appreciated the gravity of the situation at the time. Not like the escalator story. But that’s for another day.