As I exited the 405 at Hawthorne Ave to enter Torrance, CA, I noticed my lane ahead was blocked by a stranded motorist who was putting gas in his truck. Everyone was moving around him to the right lane and the cars in the right lane were letting us over, one at a time.
As I maneuvered my way around the stalled truck, I got a glimpse of a person laying on the ground, half on the curb and half of their torso and legs hanging out into the middle of the busy intersection. From the angle of the person, I couldn't tell if it was a man or woman, or if they were dead or what. The person's head was covered by both a coat and an arm. It certainly didn't look good that this person was laying there like that. The car in front of me got dangerously close to the person's feet. A surge went through my body, I had to act. I had to do something.
(NOTE: This is NOT the person that I saw, just a similar example to how he looked dead laying in the street)
Before I tell you the extraordinary events that followed my decision to act, I want to share with you something else...
Back in March, I stumbled across a video on Facebook that shook me to my core. It is a video that I wish I could un-see, but it is forever seared into my memory. The video is color surveillance footage of what appears to be a marketplace alley somewhere in China. You can see a small toddler wandering in the street. Suddenly, a truck hits her and stops. Instead of getting out to check on the child or help, the driver continues to run her over with his back tire, slowly. As if watching that wasn't gut-wrenching enough, I began to sob as I saw THIRTEEN people walk or bike AROUND her bleeding body. A second even larger truck runs her over again. I had such a physical reaction to watching the video that I nearly threw up.
How could this be? How could people walk around a bleeding child that is still flailing her little arms and appearing to still be alive?? Eventually, a woman sees the child and drags her out of the street, leaving a large blood trail. Later, another woman rushes over and grabs the child. It's later reported that the little girl died of her injuries and it showed the mother crying hysterically and collapsing. I cried for the child, for her mother, and for that whole country really. I wish I could have been there to save her. This video lit a fire under my ass at the same time. It has added to my motivation to start waves of change in people to reenact compassion and helping efforts. If that country's citizens have gotten so out of touch that people pass by bleeding children, it could happen here too.
Here is the video, but only if you can handle it: http://youtu.be/cVz8Di821L0
Flash back to today. I saw the person's feet nearly get hit by the car in front of me, and my heart just about leapt out of the window, because the image of people driving around the body of the little girl flashed into my mind. How long had the person been laying in the street like that? How many people had driven right past this body? I pulled into the first parking lot nearby, put my purse in the trunk, put on my wings, and went to investigate the person laying in the intersection. Why did I wear my wings? Because people need to see the messages that I have taped to the back of my wings to back up my actions of what I was about to do. The message taped to the back of the set of wings I put on says, "Be Kind. Help Others. Be Giving."
I passed a man who was holding a "Payday Loans" sign, and his huge sign accidentally clipped my wings as he swung it around. He apologized and then watched me as I approached the body on the ground. As I got closer, I could see it was actually a rather large man. He looked to be over 6 feet tall and over 200 lbs. I only weigh 100 lbs, but I was determined to help. He looked dead, and homeless. I put my hand on his shoulder, gave him a little shake, and gently asked him if he was okay. He sort of opened his bloodshot eyes and kind of mumbled something inaudible. I proceeded to grab his legs, one at a time, and swung them up onto the curb. My efforts were impeded because the man's back was up against a metal street sign, and the way he was laying at an angle to the metal pole made it very difficult to keep his legs from falling back into the street. As I was struggling with his legs, he kept rambling things I couldn't understand and he'd swing his legs back out into the street. I decided I would then try to coax him into getting up out of harm's way, but he was clearly wasted drunk; an empty vodka bottle laid next to him. I kept trying to get his body out of the street, when suddenly a man on a Harley motorcycle pulled up beside me and asked if I needed help. I said, "Yes!" so he parked nearby and came to help me. The man who'd been holding the payday loan sign also came over to see what was going on. Between the three of us, we managed to talk the homeless man into letting us help him. The homeless man, while trying to rant about something, also seemed to almost break into tears. He put his arm out, and I motioned to the Harley man to help grab his other arm. With Harley man on his left, and me under his right arm, we hoisted him up, and he walked to a safer area. I thanked the Harley man and the sign man, and started to walk back to my car. The sign man walked along with me and starting talking about how he used to be like that: homeless and strung out on drugs, but he'd gotten himself clean and was trying to work, but that he'd still have to go panhandling after his shift to make some money to eat dinner. Now, I haven't been in the best shape financially since the cost of living in LA is so high and my health costs related to my busted foot and skeletal misalignment have kicked my butt, but my heart went out to sign man (he later told me his name was Dante) and I went to my car to fetch $10 to give to him. He looked like he almost cried when I handed him the money and he had to compose himself. We talked for awhile, and before I left him to head to my class, he said to me, "Girl, you're an angel, and you don't need them wings to prove it."
I couldn't be there in that marketplace alley to save that little girl that day, but I could help save a man today from suffering a similar fate.
Go forth and look for ways to help others.
The LA Street Angel