TOPICS Online Magazine

Helping
Strangers
in Need

Issue 14

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Sometimes responding to an emergency situation can put those trying to help in danger. It might be risky to help; the would-be helper might actually be threatened or harmed. In such situations, this risk factor has to be dealt with before making a decision to intervene. Moreover, feeling at risk, bystanders may be reluctant to help if they are alone. They may feel safer if others, expecially people they know, are also helping.

Olga Lucia Botero and her family made the decision to stop on a road late at night to help strangers in need knowing it was a risky thing to do.


Olga Lucia Botero
Photo: Sandy Peters
Suddenly, we saw some people on the road asking for help by signaling us to stop.

It Was Worth Taking the Risk

Olga Lucia Botero from Colombia

It happened to me several years ago when I was with my parents and sister on vacation at a farm close to Medellin. We were in a car, and it was very late (2:00 in the morning). We came upon a car accident.

It is too dangerous in some places in Colombia to stop and help strangers because it can be tricky; you can be robbed. Actually, I have heard of so many cases in which people have been robbed just because they stopped and tried to help people who seemed to need help.

So, we didn't know whether to stop or not; but in the end, fortunately, we decided to do it . They had really had a car accident and some of them were injured. We took them to the hospital. They were really thankful, and we also felt very good about helping them.

I remember the next day when we told my grandfathers and uncles about that, they said we shouldn't have stopped because it was too dangerous. They thought we were lucky because we were able to tell the story. They advised us never to do that again.

Personally, I think it was risky, but also I think it was worth taking the risk. Otherwise, we would always have wondered if it was real or not. Also, if we hadn't helped them, who knows what would have happened to them.

I believe one of the facts that helped us to make up our minds about stopping or not was the fact that we were four people in the car. Maybe if I had been by myself at that time, I wouldn't have stopped.


More on helping strangers in need: When Do We Step In and Help
Would I Intervene? | Helping a Lost Child | My Father's Scary Story

Return to: Helping Strangers in Need | Issue 14 | Home Page


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