Today as I knelt on the ground holding an elderly stranger’s wound, talking to him as if I knew him, his blood on my skin, I thought about nothing but making sure he was okay. With no opportunity to adhere to universal precautions, knees starting to ache after 15 minutes, wind making my hair ‘scary’… I just wanted to know that he was okay.
After handing over to paramedics, I walked away and continued on with my work day. It wasn’t until later that I wondered why out of all the people standing around, or who looked and left, that I was the kind stranger.
Why was I the one on my knees wanting to stop the blood dripping onto the ground? Why was I the one asking his name and if he was okay and if he was on blood thinners? I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nurse. I know some stuff that may be useful in some ways, but how does that equate to holding a wound without regard for my own well-being? Because I guess I’m a kind stranger. You probably are too. Maybe you wouldn’t hold a wound closed with a paper towel, but you’d probably give someone a smile or hold a door or pick up something someone dropped or make faces at a fussy toddler to cheer them up or give directions or share your umbrella.
So, from one kind stranger to another, I just want to say – thank you kind stranger. Kindness matters.