A helping hand, a short story by mark68. Date added: 2010-10-24. Times viewed: 1095.
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A helping hand
I was walking home one very dark night, in a rural area, no street lights, no pavement and no moon. I came across a very drunk man lying in the middle of the narrow road, it must have been about midnight. I thought about walking past, but there was a very real danger of him being run over by the next car that came along. I really wanted to keep walking, I absolutely did not want to stop and lend a hand. Something in me made me stop, I shrugged my sense of revulsion for his drunkenness and the fact that I didn’t want to help. I lifted him up and put his arm around me. He was so drunk that he could hardly walk, if I could have I would have left him there and carried on walking at a faster pace. The next town was about 30 minutes away with no lights or pavement between there and me, midnight and not in the mood, but a sense of having to.
We walked slowly, because of his lack of balance. I would have left him there normally, but for some reason I couldn’t, basically, it was a small decision for me to help, but he could well have lost his existence if I had left him there, so I stayed with it. We walked slowly and it was difficult, because he was incoherent most of the time, and quite old, probably mid-fifties in age. After what felt like hours we made it to the edge of the town and the first street light. It was a relief because there was also a pavement and I could relax, and if necessary leave him there fairly safe, but again he could have died of the cold, so not wanting to in the least I stuck with it to his house. We got to his front door a few minutes later, and turning to me he said one word ‘Straight’ in a drunken way, I thought it was a statement, and I was embarrassed and confused about the mistake in my intentions and said ‘That’s okay, no problem’ I said goodnight and carried on walking, I had about another hour left of my journey.
It was only many years later that I thought that ‘straight’ may have been a question.
What it is to make decisions that we don’t really want to make. Are you a deontologist or a consequentialist? That is the question. For some work you probably don’t want deontologists, they need to be weeded out.
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