Is it Becoming Harder to Help Strangers? (Part 2).

By Revival Ojedapo.

While reflecting on the meaning of life and afterlife, Ken told Ray that he believed in trying to lead a good. For example, if he saw an old woman carrying her shopping, he’d help her hold the door and let her go out before him. The caveat was this, he wouldn’t go as far as carrying her shopping for her.
“Yeah. And anyway, if you tried to help her carry her shopping, she’d probably think you were just trying to [steal] her shopping,” Ray said in agreement.
“Exactly.”
“That’s the world we live in today.”

This scene in the movie ‘In Bruges’ describes the mutual distrust that exists between strangers. From the conversation, we realize that it seems more reasonable not to relieve a stranger of their load. You have the capacity, and even the goodwill to help, but you are reluctant to offer your help, because it can lead to embarrassment. You see an old woman struggling with some bags, and she’s going your way. You know you’re fit enough to help her, but you can’t. You won’t. Why? Because, she might think you’re a thief.

No one wants to be labelled a thief, or mistaken for a prospective thief. Using Ray’s own words, that’s the world we live in today. Nevertheless, what great honour it would have been to help an elderly with their burden. It is ultimately your choice to decide whether or not to help. Remember, an old stranger would be as much embarrassed to think you a thief. They might simply say no, and thank you for the offer. That way, you know you tried. But, at the very least, you should help them hold the door.

The movies are never short of creative ways of depicting the dangers of picking up hitchhikers. Let’s just say it is unlikely you pick up a psychopathic killer like the one in ‘The Hitcher’, these type of movies, however, serve as an awareness of the dangers that could occur. If you’ve ever been stranded in the middle of nowhere, you would know the blessing of finding a free ride. So, it is only natural that you try to help anyone who find themselves in similar situation. You just need to be extra careful.

In reverse role, being an hitchhiker puts you at great risk as well. Who knows the character of that person who’s ‘nice’ enough to give you a life. Sometimes, it would take a leap of faith to offer and accept any help in these situations. If you’re somehow stranded in the middle of nowhere, walking alone on a lonely road can be equally dangerous. So, what can you do? You just have to be at alert when you find a lucky ride. Yea, that’s the world we live in today. But, it’s not a hopeless world. You just need to take all precautions, and you can become a blessing to a stranded stranger.

As a kid, your mother probably told you to be wary of strangers. A great advice, by all means. This warning sits behind the idea that all strangers can be potentially dangerous. As we grow older, we learn more from experience, and can easily profile strangers. However, there are still many cases where we are left confused about whether to help a stranger in distress or not. In fact, there’s no shortage of examples of such situations.

There’s a compilation on the independent website (www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/would-you-risk-your-own-life-to-help-a-stranger-in-danger-1648053.html%3famp)

It really highlights the importance of the awareness of these critical situations. When and when not to intervene. Some cases would require us to take action, especially when a kid is being bullied in front of us. All the same, we ought to watch out for our own safety.

It is important just to have it at the back of our minds that we define humanity by helping other people out, even more so strangers, who may never get the chance to repay us. By helping others, we create a ripple effect, spreading more happiness in a largely depressed world. Paraphrasing Germaine Greer: every time a person unburdens their heart to a stranger, they reaffirm the love that unites humanity.


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