On our way home from Emart last weekend, Hubby and I witnessed this unfortunate incident. Here in Seoul, I’ve witnessed several traffic collisions especially while riding the taxi. And all the time, the taxi driver and I felt sorry and sad but never got involved. We may think that helping others in times of need is the right thing to do but in real life, we often fail to do so. Unlike me or most people, Hubby never hesitated to pull over and take action.
Me: Why did you stop?
Hubby: 사람 다쳤잖아요: (Can’t you see?) Someone is hurt. We must help him.
The car driver was calling his car insurance company so Hubby immediately called the emergency hotline. I noticed that people were just watching from afar. The convenience store employees, this couple and passersby didn’t come close. I myself got off the car but merely stood there watching, not knowing what to do.
After calling 119, Hubby asked this guy (bystander) to help him carry the motorcycle driver to the side of the road. He immediately acted as asked. As this person’s attention was directly called, he felt compelled to help, too. Thankfully, the injury wasn’t life threatening. We left when the 119 team arrived.
Although I am very proud of my husband for being the morally courageous and altruistic person that he is, I’m sharing this story not to brag about him but to encourage people (including myself) to be “active bystanders” and to fight the urge to step aside when we see someone in trouble. We should understand the “bystander effect” so we can prevent it as it is what usually holds us back from helping others in need.
The “bystander effect” is a socio-psychological phenomenon which occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. In most cases, people feel that since there are other people around, someone else will surely leap into action. One’s decision to give assistance is heavily impacted by diffusion of responsibility and other aspects of knowing when and how to help.
Everyday we serve as bystanders to the world around us but we shouldn’t. In times of crisis, we should be the first to act. The first person to step forward is often an inspiration for others to respond. As what my husband said, we may feel that we are not the “right” person to give assistance, but remember that even just offering a comforting hand or a reassuring voice will help the injured person. No matter how small, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. As active bystanders, we can make a difference by being the help UNTIL HELP ARRIVES.
Jagiya, thank you for inspiring me to be courageously compassionate through your example. God bless your beautiful heart. ❤️