Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saving a Life

After work yesterday, I had debated whether to go home or to go ahead downtown for the final Flicks on the Bricks, even though a friend bailed on me due to the supposed "heat". Yeah, it was hot outside, but as I know from living here the past six years, once the sun sets, the temperature always drops considerably. Often, you do need a jacket in the evenings even in the heat of summer. That's one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to live in this part of the country. The climate suits me better than any other place in America. Mild but rainy winters, and mild and sunny summers with the occasional heatwaves. Perfect!

So, I took the bus to the 82nd Avenue MAX stop. While waiting for the train, in which the electronic board said would arrive in five minutes, I noticed one guy stumble off the east bound MAX. He did not have a shirt on or socks and shoes. He sat on the bench and called someone. I returned to reading my book. At some point, he walked next to me and proceeded to fall off the platform, and hit the train tracks hard, but he didn't fall down. Instead, he managed to run into the fence on the other side of the tracks. He hit it pretty hard. Those of us on the pier were stunned and frozen. One man jumped down and walked over to help him walk back to the platform, but he shook the guy off and walked by himself before falling flat in between the tracks.

One lady on the pier kept shouting at him: "Stop faking it!" and "You need to get out of there right now!" She just yelled it over and over, while he wasn't moving. I was growing more horrified that no one was making a move to help him and I had no idea when the train was coming. I knew it was less than five minutes. I had my messenger bag, a hand bag with snacks, and a folding chair. But no one was going down to get him, so I jumped down and tried to lift him up. He was so heavy (I'd guess about 200 pounds) and I have no idea how I was able to get him up on the platform. I had to lift his legs up and onto the platform after I got most of his body on the platform. He just laid there like a dead fish, at the very edge, so I had to move him away from the edge. He did not like it one bit.

The yelling lady started telling people to call 9-1-1, but he kept saying, "No, no! Don't call 9-1-1!" I didn't understand why. One lady came over and knelt down and spoke to him like a child. She asked, "Have you drank any water today?" He claimed that he had. It was difficult to know what was wrong with him. He was unable to walk in a straight line. I know that much, because that was how he fell off the platform right in front of me. Had I known that he would do that, I would have blocked him from the edge of the platform. Anyhow, I was shocked that when I looked at my hand, I had his blood all over it. He was bleeding from his underarm area where I had lifted him, and he had cut one of his toes. What shocked me the most is that he seemed like he did not feel any of the pain that anyone who fell the way he did would have felt. This made me suspect that he was on drugs.

He stood up and the MAX finally came down the tracks. Inexplicably, he indicated that he was going to walk forward, but I used my folding chair to block him. He told me to get out of his way or else he would punch me. I just kept the chair in front of him, like a gate. I asked if he was trying to kill himself and he said, "no!" The lady who did most of the yelling finally forced him to sit on the bench and indicated that the police would arrive soon. I got on that train, completely shaking. I have rarely felt this kind of horror in my life and it was sad to see someone in this kind of state. He did not seem to be operating with full awareness so he might not actually know how close he was to being run over by the train.

I was so upset by it that I felt tears building, but I willed myself not to cry (I was on a train, after all). I kept thinking why people just watched the whole thing. If I had decided to go home instead of downtown, would anyone have rescued him from the tracks before the train arrived? Would the 11 o'clock news report on a man who was run over by MAX? I did do a Google search when I got home and there was no information about any incident at the 82nd Avenue MAX station. I did see some older articles from a few years ago where people were run over by MAX, so it has happened before. This is probably the first time in my life where I actually saved someone's life. So why did it not feel so good? I felt horrified all the way to Pioneer Square, with a stop at Cafe Yumm! to pick up my weekly dinner, as well as to wash my hands of his blood. I hope that this man's life will amount to something. It's sad to me whenever I see people drunk or on drugs. Whatever pains in one's life, self-medication into numbness is not the way to do it. What's scary is that this man was so out of it that his safety was purely dependent upon the kindness of strangers.

I do believe that my spirit guide was with me at that moment, helping to give me strength to lift this heavy man onto the platform before the train came to run us both over. I'm reading an excellent book about the afterlife and the role of our spirit guides, so this was a perfect object lesson for me. Who knows what ripple effect this might have?

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