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Jaded | Fetch My Flying Monkeys
Everyone needs a fleet of flying monkeys to rip the stuffing out of the annoying people in their lives
— Laura

LC Aggie Sith at Hookers and Booze requested that I do a list of some sort to let people know a little about me. Of course, I have an “About Me” page that I never finished, much like all my ventures, and I did one here before, so I thought I’d do a little something different. I mean, I could write that I love dinosaurs and Circus Peanuts, but you would have had to come late to this party to not know that. So I decided to tell a story about something that happened to me when I was young which had a big impact on me and changed how I view people. I never talk about it much because when you’re young, and more impressionable, things happen that leave these huge indelible marks on you that fade with age but never really go away.

When I was barely twenty years old, I was in line at a busy store at Christmastime. I was probably third or fourth from the cashier and there were probably another four or five people behind me. There were maybe four other lanes with the same number of people in them, give or take one or two. I was standing there waiting my turn to purchase something. I have no clue today what it was, but I’m pretty certain I just wanted to buy it and go home. Suddenly I heard a loud choking sound directly behind me. I turned to see the man behind me grabbing his chest and struggling to breathe. The man looked to be in his late thirties or early forties, blonde, had on a blue chambray shirt and there was a growing wet stain on the front of his blue jeans. I remember his eyes were going “blank” and he was whiter than any human being I had ever seen in my life. He literally folded and fell to the floor, dropping everything he had in his hands. I remember thinking to myself “OH MY GOD, HE’S HAVING A HEART ATTACK.” I dropped what I had and fell straight to my knees beside him and felt for his pulse. My hands trembled. I put an ear to his mouth and looked at his chest just like I was taught. I was mentally SCREAMING to myself inside my head the steps I had learned in school and I remember tears streaming down my face the second I reached the floor. I screamed out “CALL AN AMBULANCE!” just like you’re taught to. I felt no pulse and I knew he wasn’t breathing. I checked his airway, tilted his head and began, praying that what I was doing was right. Please God, let it be right. It seemed like I was doing it forever and I was exhausted beyond belief, beyond any exhaustion I have ever felt before or since. I was dizzy and light headed, but I knew I couldn’t stop. There were a lot of people all around and while doing compressions I’d look up several times and in between counting I said “Someone help me” frantically. But no one would. No. One. They just stared. Then this little old man, who I found out later had just come into the store, rushed over and started helping me by doing the compressions. After what seemed like an eternity, the paramedics finally arrived and took over. I scooted back out of their way and sat back on my ankles and struggled to catch my breath. I wiped the sweat and tears from my face and slowly stood and looked up from the scene on the floor to see the crowd of people standing, staring down at the man. And I felt this huge ball of rage and pure hatred for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. No one would look me or the little old man who was standing beside me in the eye. No. One. They stared at the wet floor and whispered even as the man was placed on a gurney and was being taken outside. This was the exact moment in my life I decided I did not like most people and to never depend on anyone but myself.

The man lived for just hours longer. He had a heart defect no one was aware of. It was worse than a “simple” heart attack. He was 38 years old and had two young daughters. Because the hospital had my info, his wife came to my home later to thank me. He had regained consciousness long enough to say goodbye to her.


44 Responses to Jaded

  1. Michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing Laura. I too have had to perform CPR on someone while others just stood and watched! She passed away in the ambulance. Her name was Edna Harris and I had never met her before that moment. Her grandson came by a few days later to thank me for what I did. I will never feel like I did enough.
    I know exactly how you feel and it is nice to know that someone knows how I feel. Thanks again.
    *** No, you will never feel like you did enough. But you did all you could. ~Laura

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Wow, well done.
    well done indeed.

  3. Jennifer says:

    OMG those fucking people.

  4. Yabu (EOTIS) says:

    Well done…you did a noble thing…yes you did.
    You are hereby awarded the JUJU MEDAL OF COMPASSION.
    Saving a man long enough to say good bye to his wife is just, just…I have no words.
    *** No. You just do what you have to do, and up until then I thought everyone felt the same way. ~Laura

  5. Joe the Blog Stalker says:

    Jesus Christ, you were just a kid really. I’d like to punch all those fucking assholes standing around in the face.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I would like to think that I would respond the same way that you would, but I just don’t know. That moment is so frightening.
    About 2 years ago, I was grocery shopping whenever my basket was thrust into my side. I was looking at something on a shelf when I heard the crack. An elderly woman had collapsed and hit her head against my basket and then on the floor. My immediate reaction was to rush to her and she was trying to get up and wouldn’t let me tell her to just be still. So she made it up but could not stand at all and I ended up holding this elderly woman in the middle of Walmart and NO ONE moved to do anything at all. It was clear the woman was confused and she should not have been by herself in the first place. Finally after I asked a number of people to get someone, another customer came over and was helping hold the woman (again, she would NOT sit or lie down) and we waited for management to get there. It was Walmart, so you can imagine their primary concern was to not get sued, but the whole experience was much like you described — shock and anger that no one else would help.
    *** I did not and still can not understand this behavior in most people. And it is shocking and horrifying really when you witness it. ~ Laura

  7. Nicole says:

    I have never been in a situation like this. I hope I react as you did.

  8. The Nickster says:

    This post made me sad but did raise my consciousness. You have done your good deed for the day.

  9. Dave says:

    Laura, I worked as a paramedic for many, many years. When an emergency (such as what happened here) occurs there’s almost a herd mentality to stand back and do nothing. They are frozen. There is actually a very small number of people (not trained and conditioned) able to react. You’re in that small group. And it is natural to have a strong dislike of the ones doing nothing and to lose faith in humanity.

  10. Good lord, Laura, you are one of those angels masquerading as people. I knew it all along.
    I was in the grocery store picking fruit when I heard someone fall behind me. A woman was convulsing, having a seizure, and a seriously bad one, too. Everyone just stopped to look, and some even POINTED!!! I dropped the grapes and went to her, placing her on her side and grabbing my wallet out to place between her teeth. I asked someone to call the manager and to call the EMS, and no one moved. I even repeated the request in SPANISH. My whole 5′ 2″ body was trying to hold down a plus-sized lady, and something in me snapped, and my Spicness took over and I just fucking SCREAMED bloody murder until one of those assholes moved to get the manager. The manager comes over, and he is just paralyzed, so I yell at him to call EMS and ask if there are any medical personnel in the building, and he goes to do so. Finally, someone responded from the other side of the building and came to my aid. But as far as the assholes in the fruit section? Nope, none of them even tried.
    The store tried to give me some sort of citation for my “heroic efforts”, but I told them not to bother. I did what ANY human being with a soul would do, and they should worry more about those who only pointed and stared.
    Shit, I need a drink.
    *** No, no angel by a long shot. Thank you for telling me your story and I am sorry you and Michelle and Elizabeth experienced the same rage I felt at people. ~Laura

  11. Janet Redmond says:

    You made me cry.

  12. Stacy says:

    I’ve never experienced anything like this, but I have been on the receiving end of people’s profound greed & selfishness. I much prefer my cats to people now. It’s why my husband is amazed that I enjoy your blog so much. You would actually be one person i’d hang out with, if we lived closer. You’re awesome.
    *** You should move. I need more people to hang out with. ~Laura

  13. Elphaba says:

    Heroes are not fucking actors, celebrities or basketball (bassetbawl?) players. They are ordinary people like you. And don’t say you aren’t a hero, Laura…heroes are the people that dig in and do what needs to be done in an emergency, without regard to their own welfare. Heroes are paramedics, soldiers, policemen, and 20 year old girls who refuse to stand benignly by as someone suffers a heart attack at the local Wal-Mart.
    I don’t understand the mentality that you witnessed, but my theory is that we’ve been breeding the masses for helplessness for a lot of years now. It’s why we’re in the mess we’re in as a country.
    I already liked you. Now you also have my respect.
    *** Thank you, but I really only did what needed to be done- a reaction. The realization at such an early age that others didn’t, and basically refused to, changed me as a person- changed my attitude towards people in general. ~Laura

  14. Patricia says:

    Wow, and just as a child. I didn’t take any type of CPR lessons until after I had graduated from college and was working in a drug store. We all have our defining moments in our life. Some are good, other bad. I’m sorry you had to go through that and amazed you had the nerve to help the man when everybody else froze.
    *** We had CPR in high school. I really would imagine out of all of those people, there were others that knew something but refused to step forward.~Laura

  15. LeeAnn says:

    I wish I could say I’d do the same. I honestly don’t know if I would. I hope I’m never in a position to find out. You rock.
    *** Just always say to yourself- “What if that was me or a loved one there- what would I want a stranger to do?” My mom taught me that. ~Laura

  16. Erik says:

    Laura thanks for sharing this experience with us.
    I would agree with Dave’s comments above, and add that most people are shocked and don’t know what to do in a similar circumstance. People may have a fight or flight mentality. I’m not making excuses for anyone – they should have helped.
    I agree that people suck. In Christian theology its called Total Depravity. Not just depravity – but TOTAL. It was one of the things that made me put faith in God alone; and since he died for everyone, that kind of forces me to rethink human relantionships as well. I still have trouble trusting people, because they still suck.
    Sorry if I went off the deep end and all that. Once again, too much coughing at night and not enough sleep.
    *** Now I am worried about you and your coughing and insomnia. I hope you are seeing a doctor about that and yes, this was the moment I knew people sucked. ~Laura

  17. patti says:

    Thank T-Rex there are still people like you out there. Where would we be if EVERYONE just stood and gawked?
    I have several stories, usually involving small children on the road – toddler crossing a five lane alone at 3:15 in the afternoon; four year old walking down a road alone and crying at 9:30 am; woman holding a filthy unbreathing, wrapped in layers and layers of filth infant – Somehow it always seems to be the tiny ones in distress I run across.
    *** You should tell your stories. If it makes one person remember and MOVE out of that “herd”, as Dave put it, it is worth it. ~Laura

  18. Elphaba says:

    When I was 18 years old, my aunt (who is 6 years older than me) sat me down and gave me this bit of life advice: 95% of people are SHIT.
    Granted, she’d found out about her husband’s affairs and was going through a very ugly divorce. I think her advice is accurate, but the percentage is probably closer to 98%.
    *** I think you’re right. ~Laura

  19. Brea says:

    Both my parents were volunteer EMT’s for years, so I learned through them about the habits of the herd-dwellers.
    It’s heart-breaking to hear the stories, and the fact that you had to go through that so young is terrible. {HUG} for that young lady.
    In our state, they had to pass the Good Samaritan Law during the time my parents volunteered, as there were people that wanted to sue the First Responders that stopped, but couldn’t help someone that had died, or was dying. To this day, they still tell the professionals not to stop if they see someone hurt along the side of the road, because if a licensed doctor or nurse stops at an accident, they are liable for what happens. It makes me cry that my mom would have to drive by an accident and not stop. And I’m sure it would break her heart too.
    My dad is not in the medical field, so he stops. Honestly, they’d both stop no matter what. Malpractice be damned.
    Someone once said “A person alone can be wise, compassionate and helpful; but people in a crowd are stupid, panicky and scared.” Screw that, I’d rather stand out of the crowd.
    (tips hat and cheers Laura)
    *** That is insane that they were told not to help. How awful for them and for the injured victims as well. I remembered I cried and cried and cried for a long time after. I cried for the man and his family, I cried it happened, and I cried that no one helped me. It was very upsetting for a 20 year old. ~Laura

  20. Stacy says:

    Oh my. I am sorry this happened. It made me cry. I would like to think that if it happened to me, I’d move out of the herd. You’re right- you have to do what you would want a stranger to do for a loved one.

  21. Made me cry – for the man, his family and for the people who stood and watched. For they have no souls, they are empty inside. That’s an awful way to live.
    I’m the person who will call 911 if I see a drunk driver on the road; I’ll even follow the driver while on the phone with 911 until the police say they are there.
    I’m the person who finds a purse in a grocery store parking lot and just returns it to the store manager.
    Doesn’t make me better than anyone else; I just have a soul.
    Good for you Laura.
    *** I simply do not understand people. And, good for you for the things you do. ~Laura

  22. zonker says:

    What LeeAnn said in comment #15.

  23. Tara says:

    I’ve read this twice and cried both times. How awful. I would have been filled with rage too at those people. You were pleading for help. And the others here in the comments that shared similar stories, asking for help and people just standing there too!! It’s mind boggling.
    *** Yes it is. ~Laura

  24. Teresa says:

    So far in my life I haven’t had something like this happen. I can understand an initial shock and perhaps a 10-15 seconds (an eternity when you are in an emergency situation) of not knowing how to react, but to then stand and do nothing… good lord every one of those people needs to collapse on the street and have the rest of the world walk by and do nothing.
    One thing I did learn a long time ago (so long I can’t remember where)… in an emergency situation, you can’t call out to the crowd to do anything. They’ll all just stand and wait for someone else to do it. What you have to do is point directly at someone and say “You call 911!” then point at someone else and say “You get over here and help me!”. They may still not do it, but you have a much better chance of someone actually doing something if only calling an ambulance.
    This makes you one of the elite and uniquely excellent people in the world.
    *** No no, I think it just makes me normal to try to help someone who is dying in front of you. ~Laura

  25. rathead says:

    L, I had no idea. I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I cant imagine all the crap that you ‘ve witnessed and had to go through. You are truely a HERO and that you are a very humble person. I am glad that I know you. You have helped me in so many ways and so many days and I thank you for that.
    *** You’re welcome. And no, I’m no hero. I was just being a human being. ~Laura

  26. Richelle says:

    You’re the only person I know that has my back and know for a fact I would never have a knife jabbed in. Even though you’re mighty fond of stabbing.
    *** I don’t stab friends. Unless you try to steal my fries. ~Laura

  27. Heather says:

    I know you don’t like it being said you’re a hero, but this was a selflish act and like Dave said, not many people spring into action without second thought and hesitating. And it’s sad that it turned out the way it did but at least they got to say goodbye. You were meant to be there, Laura.

  28. garnet says:

    Whoa. I can’t believe no one helped. This would effect you for the rest of your life. People are assholes.

  29. 34milepizza says:

    Good job for doing what’s right. I had a (somewhat) similar experience years ago. I was working as a 911 dispatcher and had thankfully been trained in CPR. My next door neighbor, who had no business procreating much less babysitting, sent her 4-year old son to my door one morning. There was no sense of urgency, no panic, just the little boy saying, “can you come help my Mommy?” I went in the front door not knowing what to expect when the mother comes around the corner holding a wet, blue 8-month old baby girl limply in her arms. Apparently, her hellions had decided to throw an entire box of cereal all over the kitchen floor and yelling at them was more important than the baby she had just put into the bathtub. She basically just pushed the baby into my arms and stood there wringing her hands. She hadn’t even called 911 yet. So, I had to call in to my colleagues and request a rescue while doing infant CPR, trying to keep about five kids out of the way and her just standing there doing nothing. Thankfully, I was able to revive the baby and I found out later she had no negative aftereffects. I spoke to the mother of the baby that evening and told her she might want to place her baby with someone who is actually trained to deal with emergencies and she just looked at me like I was nuts. The next week she was there dropping off her baby girl. Idiot.
    *** OH.My.God. Leaving a baby in a tub?? THEN taking her child BACK there?? Unbelievable. ~Laura

  30. Donna says:

    I am so sorry that happened to you. How awful. People. That’s all I can say as I shake my head.

  31. DogsDontPurr says:

    I just want to say a big “Thank You!!!” My husband had a heart attack a few years ago. Fortunately we were at home and could call 911. But if he had been out alone, I pray that there would be someone like you that would do the right thing.
    A thousand million hundred billion thank you’s for being there for that man and his family.
    *** I just did what I had to do. But you’re welcome and I hope your hubby is doing great. ~Laura

  32. Tink says:

    Please let me say first, that You are an exceptional human being. I’m not saying this because of this story, I’m saying this because I have known you for many years. You are,by far, the most precious friend I have. This story just reinforces all these thing about you I already knew. your honesty, although sometimes painful, but pure honesty none the less. Your devotion and true “friend-ism” (is that a word? OK I made that up)but you’re a hard nut to crack but once you chose (and I know it is a process for you) a friend, that is what they are…. forever. You are devoted, honest, and true. All these qualities are indeed extremely hard to find and most often you never do. My point to all this mushy crap is that even at the age of “barely twenty” all these qualities were already instilled in you. Your compassion and lust for life whether it be yours or someone else’s, your dedication to make something that is wrong, right. And enough honesty in your heart to think you can do that. Just know this Laura Ledford, yes people generally suck. I don’t ever want to be in this situation because I don’t know what I would do. If I felt I did not have the training to assist I would probably stay out of the way. I only hope that if it ever happens TO ME! That you are there.
    *** I know you are, but what am I? : ) ~Laura

  33. mel says:

    Wow Laura! I knew you were awesome and I knew it just had to be because of something other than dinorsaurs and stick-science and strange facts. I don’t know CPR and now I feel like I should. I would hate to be one of the people in the crowd doing nothing. The other stories in the comments here are also interesting. I’ve never experienced anything like that. The closet I get is one time right outside Wal-Mart (how funny so many of these things seem to happen there) A very old man with a cane and a gray beard and round glasses was trying to get into a car in the parking lot, but he slipped and fell straight onto his back on the concrete with his cane sticking straight up into the air. I ran over and said OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK, SIR? And he said.. in an Irish accent… “I wouldn’t be any better if I were in Berlin.” Then someone who I assumed was his daughter jumped out of the car and helped him and he WAS fine. But still to this day I wonder… Wait, does he like Berlin or hate it?
    *** HA! Oh man, you should have asked him! And yes, everyone needs to learn CPR. ~Laura

  34. Jan says:

    How horrible. Whoever said those people had no souls, was right. How lucky for that poor man that you’re a two-percenter. Good job.

  35. Damned sheeple.
    *** I wanted to punch them all in their faces. ~Laura

  36. SB Smith says:

    It’s awesome that you just went into gear like that when you saw he was having a heart attack. I think maybe a lot of people have seen so much real life stuff on tv that the idiots forget they aren’t still watching a screen and haven’t snapped that they’re seeing it happen right in front of them…or more likely, your assessment….that 99% of people are just unreliable asshole, zombies. That’s how I’d describe the crowd in your story.
    It had to also be life changing for you, especially at that age, for the man’s widow to come visit you to thank you.
    *** Yes it was. ~Laura

  37. SB Smith says:

    I had to go check out the old profile of yours called 6 things people don’t know about me.
    I LOVED #5 ! When you’re pissed at friends, you call America’s Most Wanted and turn them in as fugitives, using a voice changer. That’s Hilarious !
    **** Shhh…I still do that. ~Laura

  38. Michelle says:

    Oh yeah, you are a fabulous person. Kudos to you.
    **** HA! Are you wanting paid or something? Because I will. ~Laura

  39. Curtal Friar says:

    Yeah, that is a sad commentary on the human condition, and unfortunately it’s not rare. Remember Kitty Genovese?
    Equally horrible are the stories you read about where someone required CPR, and a stranger performed it, but the person needing help got a cracked rib from the CPR effort. Along comes a vulture lawyer who convinces the victim that he/she needs to sue, and the person does. So, you save someone’s life, and get sued for your efforts and lose your house having to pay for damages.
    Hard for me do decide what’s worse, the selfish idiots who can’t be bothered to help someone who’s in immediate, critical need, or the greedy idiot who seeks to make money off other people’s misfortunes.
    Okay, now I need a drink.
    *** I HATE HATE HATE the attitude when someone has any kind of accident or is something bad happens to them that “SOMEONE MUST PAY!” It makes me want to stab them. ~Laura

  40. jamie says:

    Thst had to have been terrifying. Those asshole people.
    *** It was. ~Laura

  41. Dave Mills says:

    There are three types of people in the world. Wolves/predators, sheep/prey and sheepdogs/protectors. There are more than enough wolves, too many sheep and not enough sheepdogs. You, Laura, are a sheepdog. You are a protector, a guardian. The sheep will never thank you or admit they need you but do not let that change who you are. You are one of the special ones.
    *** This is the first time I don’t mind being called a dog. ~Laura

  42. Larry says:

    I was a CPR instructor for years and years but I’ve never had to actually use it.
    Good for you for doing what you did.
    Heroes (heroines?) always say they just did what they had to do. The thing that makes them special is that they did them.
    *** I just find it amazing(?) that there’s people who won’t. ~Laura

  43. alison says:

    What an incredibly brave thing to do, tears are streaming down my face reading this Laura. And part of it is anger at those people also. I know exactly what you mean and can relate 100%.
    Sometimes though as shitty and weird as people can be a random act of kindness will knock you for six and reestablish your faith in humanity. There have been a handful and they are cherished. Not the least of which was receiving a soft fluffy bear hand puppet from a woman I barely know but who brings a massive smile to my face almost daily. I love you L. But not in a gay way :P
    *** Not that there’s anything wrong with the gay way, but I’m kinda relieved it’s not, but I would understand cause my beauty has no borders. HAHA! Okay I threw up in a mouth a little on that one. Love you too Alison and not in a gay way either. ~Laura

  44. hotpants says:

    Thanks for sharing, and good for you for helping.
    *** You just do what you can do. ~Laura

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