A couple shared a recent experience where they emerged from the local Safeway store and spotted a man lying on his back with his head on the street side of the curb and his bicycle on top of him. Shoppers were simply passing by without breaking stride. Our friends went to check on the man’s condition and to assist him.
As they were attending to him, a woman came to offer her help as well. While lending their assistance, multiple people continued walking by as though nothing unusual was happening. Finally, as they struggled to help the man back onto his feet, the couple had to hail one of the passersby to come help lift the man. Once back on his feet, the fallen man refused further assistance and was on his way.
This scenario did not unfold on an isolated, dimly lit street, in a dangerous area or in the middle of the night. Rather, it occurred in broad daylight in a heavily trafficked area with numerous Christmas shoppers passing by.
Despite differences from the parable of the Good Samaritan told by Jesus (Luke 10:25-37), unfortunately, for the majority it appears, human bystander behavior has not changed at all in the succeeding two millennia. Thankfully, this couple offered the hands of Christ to the stranger. But the important question is: What would you or I have done?