What makes a Good Samaritan? 0
A North Vancouver man owes his life to a Good Samaritan. A few weeks ago, a young woman found Ralph Hollett collapsed on the side of a road a block away from his home. Hollett, who suffers from Alzheimer's, had wandered from his home late at night and would have probably died if not for the helping hand of a kind stranger. Hollett's mysterious rescuer left before his family could thank her properly for her selfless act.
Hollett joins a long list of Canadians who owe their lives to Good Samaritans. From making simple 911 calls and seeking help, to jumping into freezing water and rushing into burning buildings, it is incredible the length some people will go to come to the aid of complete strangers. For most people it is unimaginable not to intervene when we see someone in desperate need of help. To some degree, we have probably all been Good Samaritans at one point in our lives.
Contrast Hollett's happy ending to a tragic story that made international headlines last month in China for the opposite reason. A toddler named Yueyue was run over twice in a market alley in Foshan, China and a CCTV camera captured an astonishing 18 people passing by and ignoring her broken, bleeding body as she pleaded for help. Yueyue died, and the world wanted to know, where were all the Good Samaritans that day?
Stories of missing Good Samaritans are relatively common in China. In September, a man asphyxiated on his own blood when he fell on a busy street and was ignored by the many people who passed him by. While incidents like these make us question the state of morality in China, morality has nothing to do with it.
There have been many cases over the years involving Good Samaritans in China who, after helping, were blamed by the victim for causing the original harm and extorted for money or arrested by police. One judge even ruled that helping a stranger was an admission of guilt.
Unlike other parts of the world, there are no Good Samaritan laws in China that protect do-gooders from being sued for helping. People are actually afraid to help others.
What if being a Good Samaritan was dangerous business in Canada like it is in China? Would our willingness to help be outweighed by fear of being sued or arrested?