We shared a rare moment in front of the television set last evening and caught part of the ABC show called, “What Would You Do?”
The premise of the show is to have actors re-create scenarios in front of ordinary people and then film the reactions of others. There were several different scenes played out from a guy and a gal on a first date to a person who collapses on a busy sidewalk. There was also a young Muslim woman who was refused service in a busy bakery.
The “first date” involved the guy pouring a drug in the girl’s drink when she excused herself to go to the bathroom. Only a few people got involved to tell the girl that her drink was drugged. It isn’t very reassuring for all of the single women in the world sitting on a bar stool.
The Muslim woman was refused service in the bakery in front of several customers. The bakery clerk began a barrage of racial insults toward the woman. Many of the customers applauded the clerk’s insults. Only a few people stepped up to the woman’s defense. It was a stark reminder that prejudice is alive and well in little towns all across America.
But, of all the different scenes, it was the last fallen person on the sidewalk that grabbed my gut. The first person to collapse was a well-dressed woman. Many came to her aid in less than two minutes and called 911. ABC film crews replaced the woman with an actor dressed as a homeless man and placed a beer can in his hand. No one on the busy Newark sidewalk came to his aid and several even made snide comments about Newark’s beautiful scenery. In fact, all-in-all, over 88 people passed him by. Until suddenly, a disabled woman named Linda Hamilton ambled over to him. She stood by his fallen body for over a half-hour, calling out for someone, anyone to call 911.
Linda cried out, “Excuse me, please call an ambulance for this man.” Another 28 people passed by her and still she continued her pleas for help for the fallen man.”Please, someone call an ambulance and help this man.” More passersby.
It was her last act of kindness that brought tears to my eyes – she knelt down and touched the man, giving the “homeless” man a name and began calling him, “Billy.” She repeatedly asks the apparent drunk collapsed on the street, “Billy, wake up, Billy. You are still here, Billy. Open your eyes.” People stop and stare and only one woman calls 911.
Even when the ABC cameras exposed themselves, Linda concerned herself with the actor, asking him if he was sure that he was okay. Then she slowly ambled on down the sidewalk.
It makes you think, what would you do?