ON HELPING SELECTIVELY
A friend of mine whispered, a bit hesitant at first, that his relative was hospitalized and that the patient needs money to sustain the treatment. In short, my friend was asking me for assistance. He knew me personally to be very generous. But on that occasion, I simply confessed that I am not government. I only help friends but not their friends. I help relatives but not their relatives. I help my loved ones but not their loved ones. Helping the universe is the role of government.
When I was young and my adrenaline was overflowing, when idealism was central in my religious belief, I spent time and resources, working hardly to be liquid, just so I could help people in distress. At a tender age, I grew up hearing anecdotes on how Greek gods and local heroes shaped civilization and I wished I could become one of them too.
I realized however that I was not shaped that way.
I remember an instance, among several, in the distant past while my mind was still adventurous, pretentious even, as I would imagine myself as a caped crusader in disguise.
At a break of dawn, one fine day, years ago, while driving on the expressway on my way to office, I noticed, from afar, several hollow blocks were lined up suspiciously on the side road and within the crude enclosure there was a person seemingly wriggling. I stopped and checked. Indeed, a shabbily dressed old man was writhing in pain, unable to stand. I looked around and saw several carpenters near the highway fence ogling at me. I inquired on what happened to the old man and they responded that they saw the poor fellow but the most that they could do was to put temporary barriers so that motorists would be cautioned from accidentally running over the old man. They were probably daily wage earners in a building construction site and they would never sacrifice work for any lengthy intervention. So I just asked them to be give a hand to assist me bring the old man into my car.
Thereupon, I brought the gray fellow to the nearest hospital a few kilometres from the highway exit. Good thing it was along the way, on the same route where i intended to pass through. I was invited as lecturer in a Police Academy that day. As soon as I have deposited the old man in the emergency facility of the hospital, I rushed back for my appointment. I have not started the engine yet when a couple of hospital personnel with security guards blocked my path and requested me to stay until the police arrive at the hospital. The person I brought was medico-legal case and for all they knew, those who figured in motor accidents were those who would bring their victims to the hospital. I never realized that by helping, I would virtually offer myself as suspect to a crime!
And so I waited. A group of police investigators came; two of them accosted me and brought me to the precinct for investigation. It was almost noon and my scheduled lecture was already forgone. And my lecture honorarium was the first casualty. Luckily, in the afternoon, the rest of the police investigators came over to uncuff me with information that they just completed their query on the incident and accordingly, the old man disclosed that he was side swept by a provincial bus while waiting for a ride. Had the poor fellow died, I would have been haled in court for Homicide through Reckless Imprudence!
That was an instance when one intends to help if only to be inconvenienced. I would rather have it but to be charged for crime is another!
That was also the end of my romance in the field of helping others. I would rather stick to my sphere, extending help only on people around me, selectively if you may.