Have I lost my humanity?

Something happened on Thursday afternoon and it’s left me asking myself this question. I was unpacking my shopping from the car and I heard a voice behind me asking if I have a boyfriend. I turned around to see a man, and replied ‘no but I have a husband’.

When I looked a little closer I could see the man was awkward, sweating, small in stature and walking towards me with a limp, laden with two large shopping bags.

The guy then went on to ask how long it would be until my husband got home, he was slurring his words and I could smell alcohol on his breath. I lied and said my husband had just called and was down the road on his way back from work.

I lied.

I felt uneasy on a busy street, just talking, with a guy I’d never met but still it was just talking.

‘Oh, it’s just I really needed some help’

Those were his words, except he spoke them with an exasperation and sadness that I wasn’t prepared for.

He continued to walk and I continued to unpack my shopping.

Guilt rising.

I then overheard him ask a passer-by if he would help to carry his shopping bags to the nearest bus stop. The passer-by just shook his head.

I called out and told him to hang on one minute while I locked the house and got Rose from the car. I took his shopping bags, with Rose in one arm and the bags in the other and we started walking.

He told me how shameful it was that a woman was carrying his bags because he couldn’t manage them himself.

I considered how shameful it was that I had thought twice about helping him.

It took us 10 minutes to get to the bottom of the road and the bus stop. Mostly because his disability prevented him from walking very quickly. I asked his name and he told me with a wink ‘Big Ben, on account of my size’.

I left him there on that bus stop, with his heavy shopping bags, and walked away with my own burden.

When I got home I wept.

I wept for Big Ben and the thought of him struggling.

I wept for all the Big Bens who only make it through the day with the help of a stiff drink.

This is what my world has come to: a man stops to talk to me in the street and it sets alarm bells ringing?

I think twice about helping someone in need in case something dreadful might happen?

The smell of alcohol and seemingly odd, but as it happens perfectly reasonable questions made me pre-judge this man.

We live in a society where we are fearful of one another. Is that because so many awful things happen to ordinary people on a daily basis? It heightens our expectation that danger could be lurking around every corner.

We live in a society that is losing compassion and humanity.

And that is a crying shame.


Image credit-Positive and Encouraged

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  • Cerys

    Written on 24th April 2015


    I hear you. I find myself not letting my bois head out to play as far as I would have done when I was their age, just in case they meet someone they shouldn’t or because what might happen. Great post. X

  • Penny Pincher

    Written on 24th April 2015


    I’m more fearful than I ever was; you read so many tragic stories of murder, rape and the like that you start to trust no one and it’s one of the reasons I’m so paranoid when my kids are outside just playing. I wish I wasn’t so on guard all the time but I would rather be like that than something bad happen to me or my children. Very thought provoking, great post xx

  • Natalie Ray

    Written on 24th April 2015


    Aw bless him. Such a sad situation to have to ask a stranger for help. What could have happened to him to leave him with nobody to help him? Good for you, I’m so glad you helped. I would have been just as worried about his motives, you’re right we just don’t trust each other anymore.xx

  • Charlotte

    Written on 24th April 2015


    I am glad you helped him, but I don’t think I would have done the same and that makes me feel terrible.

    I am always conscious of stopping to talk to anyone I don’t know, especially if I have Elsa. It’s a sad way to be but I just think you can’t be too careful these days. I’d rather jump to the wrong conclusion than wrongly give someone the benefit of the doubt and regret it.

    Interesting post!

  • Everything Mummy

    Written on 28th April 2015


    I would have felt the same I am so weary of people I think its all the media crime watch etc it puts us all on edge but your so lovely to of helped him! x

  • You Baby Me Mummy

    Written on 4th May 2015


    Oh honey, what a thought provoking post. I would have done the same in being wary. I think that is just human nature and a product of the age we will in. Sad, but sometimes necessary. Big hugs my lovely xxx

    • Amy

      Written on 6th May 2015


      Thanks lovely it was awful and I felt really bad afterwards but I’m glad that it’s normal to feel wary xxx

  • Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Written on 6th May 2015


    Great post darling. However – I don’t think you should beat yourself up at all. There were red flags that could have spelled danger for you, and so by judging him the way you did at the beginning that was the right thing to do. You have to protect yourself first before you can ever help anyone else.

    And the fact, the very fact, that you then realised your mistake, your initial error of judgement (make no mistake as a woman we have to be more sensitive to strangers) and then corrected it in such a wonderful way, speaks volumes about the woman YOU ARE.

    So I disagree I’m afraid (in the loveliest way). Society isn’t losing humanity. Most definitely not, because there are still people like you in this world to remind us how important this is.

    Beautiful writing! Well done x

  • Eleanor

    Written on 10th May 2015


    Well done for having second thoughts and going to help him, you’re a very good person, and you’ll have made a difference to Big Ben, even if it was just for that day. Great post.

  • Donna o'toole

    Written on 10th May 2015


    I would have done exactly the same I think, and you should be proud of the help you gave, but also of the accuracy of your instinct which made you think twice. You wouldn’t have called after him if your gut instinct, and mother’s instinct, had not all give you the internal nod of approval.

    As a woman, a mum, and a mum of girls at that, thanks to the media I am tuned in to so many ‘potential’ threats, that sometimes it’s hard to tune back into the here and now. So after many occasions when I have berated myself for not doing the right thing because I didn’t listen to my gut instinct, now that’s exactly what I do – rightly or wrongly!

    I also have a dad with Parkinson’s Disease, and I know that at times he will have struggled along the road with his bags, looking and speaking oddly, and hell he might have even had a pint with a friend after popping to the shops. Seeing his change, and noticing the occasional impatience or assumptions made around him, has made me realise why it’s so important we look beyond what we think we ‘see’ because the situation could be something quite different if we really open our eyes. Well done you for helping, I expect you helped restore that gentleman’s faith in humanity that day too. X

    • Amy

      Written on 11th May 2015


      Oh donna what a lovely comment, thank you so much. I do hope that in someway Big Ben was happy I walked with him but I very much hope he didn’t sense my discomfort as much as I felt it. I have been thinking about it a lot. Sorry to hear about your Dad too, Parkinson’s is such a cruel disease. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment x

  • Suzanne

    Written on 11th May 2015


    Absolutely a crying shame but you went back when you realised and the majority of people wouldn’t have done. I think your initial reaction is only to be expected. In this day and age you cannot be too careful. I sometimes think that I’m over cautious, particularly where my children are concerned but what if? Always rings in my mind. Lovely post.

    • Amy

      Written on 11th May 2015


      Thanks so much Suzanne, gosh it’s such a hard one isn’t it. I do wonder if I’d have reacted differently at first had Rose not been there but I guess I was just on guard x

  • MummyWrites

    Written on 12th May 2015


    Such an important post, and it’s something I have noticed about society today. We’re scared of everything. Good for you for trusting your natural instinct to help that man. I can imagine every day is a challenge for people who rely on the kindness of strangers.

  • Katie Heels and Hooves

    Written on 5th December 2015


    I would have done exactly the same. You must protect yourself first bit good for you for helping. It is sad that we have to second guess everything, but it’s the world we live in xx

  • Sally

    Written on 15th December 2015


    I think everyone would react the way you did. It is a sad state of affairs but we are more cautious of each other because the world has made us this way. Well done you for helping him out. x

  • Kate Tunstall

    Written on 6th March 2016


    Oh wow, that gave me goosebumps. I’d have been exactly the same my Love. And to be frank Amy, I’d have thought less of you if you’d behaved any differently.

    Why? You had Rose with you.

    Yes, it’s sad. But you were doing your job of protecting your daughter from potential threat above all else. Right now, she needs you more than any other person in the world does.

    So don’t beat yourself up – you reevaluated and changed your mind. That’s more than some would do.

    I wrote something similar a few months ago, about how kindness is viewed with suspicion. It’s woeful, but it’s life.

    Have a wonderful Mothers Day. Mwah. Xxx

  • absolutely prabulous

    Written on 28th April 2016


    Really struggling to hold myself together and fighting back tears after reading this. I couldn’t agree more with Kate. She hits it on the head. You had to be on your guard. What if you weren’t? What if he WAS depraved and attacked you? But I totally get what you’re saying about it getting to the point where we are just too terrified to help each other. Honestly move to the Med Amy!
    Seriously I’m just choked. That poor poor man feeling humiliated asking you. Jesus that has killed me. Yep crying now x

  • Kristine @MumRevised

    Written on 18th May 2016


    I had a very similar experience once. I don’t remember ever being scared, but I do remember being thankful that I was there to help. The woman I picked up smelled of urine, had a cane, and was just trying to get to the fish and chip shop because her husband was ill and she needed a break. It turned into a lovely chat and a nice story.
    We are both on #BlogStars with Prabs.

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 18th May 2016


      That’s so nice of you :) I was really thankful that I helped him but felt really bad about it all to be honest. Thanks for reading

  • Angela Webster

    Written on 27th May 2016


    You know what the fact that you changed your mind and helped Big Ben out shows that you have more compassion and humanity than most, as mamma’s it’s natural for our first instinct to be suspicion and apprehension when faced with such a situation so I don’t think you had anything to feel bad about at all, there is more good in this world than bad but that’s not what’s portrayed in the media sadly, it makes us ll fearful. Your act of kindness probably meant more than you know to that man.

  • Emilie

    Written on 1st July 2016


    It is so hard with the media these days not to get worn down by all the bad things that happen and it definitely makes you more weary. We have neighbours that are always offering to babysit for us and we never accept. They seem perfectly lovely, we make conversation with them whenever we see them. We’ve been to their house and them to ours for a brew and a chat. We take parcels in for them and vice versa but still part of me thinks “What if?” I guess you just have to have faith in people and pray that you’re not the one something bad happens to but its hard x

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