I met four Samaritans while out walking tonight...
The first – a ‘don't judge a book by its cover’-looking chap - had a phone in one hand and a little dog in the other. He was pacing up and down as he spoke on the phone.
I walked past him towards the figure kneeling motionless, with forehead touching the ground. As I bent down to check for a pulse, two others came alongside and one of them knelt down beside the figure – later, we would see that the motionless figure was a very young woman.
I discovered that, contrary to what I had supposed, the first man did not know the person in distress. He had been calling the emergency services. The second, knelt on the cold cobbled street next to the woman, was speaking comfort, gently touching her head and shoulders, while I went to the already-closed coffee shop where someone was shutting up shop inside to get coffee for the young woman. The Caffè Nero employee not only opened up, but gave the coffee free of charge – number four!
Number three waited with us, while passersby passed by. Some gave the scene a quick glance and, without curiosity, looked away and shut themselves into their own worlds again; others gave questioning looks as they passed; two groups laughed as they looked and walked on; most did not seem to notice! Number three checked with us to see whether we would be staying until help arrived and, being assured we would, hastened on his journey.
The paramedics duly arrived and, having established that the young woman was in safe hands, I finally walked on. As I turned the corner, I looked back at the scene again. Number one was still there, ensuring that the woman would be okay.
I met four Samaritans tonight – they were all good!