Asphalt and Altruism

by Rose Kelly
Georgia, USA

I remember when I first got my bike, at about 8 or 9 years old. My mother, father, and five older brothers saved up for it. I was so happy because I could follow my brother, Khanh, around the block. We rode around with the neighborhood kids. Since I was the youngest of the group I was always behind.

One day Khanh, two other kids and I were riding up and down a steep hill. We were on our last run because it was getting late. Half-way down the hill my right foot slipped off the pedal. I tried to get it back on but I just couldn’t. Everybody was getting farther and farther away. I panicked and screamed for my brother but he couldn’t hear me.

At the curve at the bottom of the hill I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t slow down, lost control and toppled over. I skidded and tumbled on asphalt for a few yards. I finally rolled to a stop face down. I was afraid to move.

Everyone heard the bike crash and came running. My brother rolled me over and one of the kids said I was bleeding. I’d lost my shoes along the way. I was bleeding around the toes, ankles, shin, knees, elbows, shoulders and fingers. I had cuts on my face and head, but the most severe was a deep cut on my chin. It was split open to the bone.

My brother was torn between staying with me or going to get help. Finally one of the kids ran to my house. He returned with my brother Sonny. Sonny panicked because of the blood, too. No one knew what to do. There were no adults around; no one was home.

As we stood there a few cars passed by. Some slowed down to see what happened but nobody stopped to help. Sonny left to call my parents and 911. As we waited, a car pulled up and asked what had happened. Hearing the story, the gentlemen stopped his car, got out, and talked to Khanh. Khanh picked me up, got in the car with me in his arms and then the man
drove us to our house. Sonny was on the phone with my brother Nick, who was at work.

The man told Nick which hospital he would take me to, and then drove us there. The doctor gave me five stitches on my chin, cleaned up my cuts and scrapes, and made me take some medicine. By the time I was patched up my whole family had arrived to take me home.

The gentlemen had already left, and I never knew his name. I had wanted to thank him for stopping and going out of his way to make sure a stranger was safe. Now as an adult I try to help people when I can… because someone helped me when they didn’t have to.

Originally published as HeroicStories #394 on March 24, 2003

1 thought on “Asphalt and Altruism”

  1. Like many of the stories on this site, I loved this story because it was a nice reminder that while we constantly remind our kids of “Stranger Danger” and “never talk to strangers”, we should also remember that the vast majority of “Strangers” are good caring people who would go out of their way to help someone in trouble.


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