The bystander effect happens when a group of people don’t step forward or intervene when they should – seeing someone in distress in a public place for instance.
First incident happened in the early beautiful Sunday morning while driving from Hyderabad towards Ananthagiri by car with a group of friends.
On the way we have approached the aftermath of what was obviously a horrible, tragic incident. As we got closer to the scene, we have witnessed a dog, in the middle of road lying in the pool of blood, with completely crushed legs. It was so gruesome to watch because the accident didn’t kill him instantly but its as if it was waiting to take his last breath. He was just lying there not able to get up licking the blood out of crushed legs. We were just passed by, watching, feeling pity on poor animal but preferred not stopping and helping the poor dog.
I couldn’t do it and it just bothered me for a long time why I couldn’t just stop and help relieve his pain, although temporary. I was embarrassed to step up and be that person who cares rather I have avoided and moved on.
But that’s wrong.
Second incident happened when all of us came back to Hyderabad my friend and I are walking by to get some good tea.
there is this 18plus year old kid who is asking everyone for something we couldn’t focus on him as he looks as if he is mentally slow or probably inebriated asking for something in Hindi. At first He is trying to hold my hand asking for some money and we couldn’t care less about his problem and we ignored him completely and passed by.
Within 10 feet this family of three who are totally lost asking for directions in Hindi the husband just asked me simple question Apko hindi athe hain bhayya ? Since we had just avoided an embarrassing situation naturally we completely ignored him as well. We didn’t even care about asking what’s that he wanted. He was obviously asking everyone on that entire road for something and everyone ignoring his pleas.
We moved on, went home and it started bugging me as I could have at least listened to him even if it was not important even if its something that I can’t help, I could have just listened.
I have intervened many times and not been afraid of the fear of a negative response or public embarrassment. I have done this in the workplace and outside in the public areas too. But this time I didn’t and that’s wrong thing I did.
After dinner I had to go out to my brothers place at 10pm and to my utter shock they are still there roaming from this end of road to that end begging people to listen to them. I was on my bike and this time without hesitating even a bit I went directly to the husband inquired about the situation. He informed me that they came here that morning from Nagpur for Construction and painting Job which was promised to them over phone but the builder couldn’t keep his word and they were thrown out. Cheated by local builder,angry, desperate and on top of everything they don’t have money to buy food for little kid. They were requesting everyone on the street for more than 5 hours. I felt ashamed,embarrassed at myself as I could have helped that hungry kid if I had just listened. I was ready to give them money they were quick to reject and said they were only asking everyone for some food for little kid. I went home packed enough food from house for 4 people.
I have rationalized every time I had to step up and act on something(or someone) to care about, telling myself that I am not responsible for that(or them) This incident made me to have greater accountability for speaking up and stepping up next time and that I strongly believe will help me towards becoming a better person.
As my best friend fiercely put it, I am one of lots of educated fools who doesn’t care about affecting any change required for system or people as a whole around us. I completely agree, I may be an educated fool but this gives a greater pleasure to believe I am trying my best to be a better person to be that change.