What to do if you see someone lying in the street not moving

I went in to teach my class to preschoolers in Chinatown today and right where I usually park my bike a man was passed out. So I locked my bike and saw that I had time to go to the Supermarket. I needed to get Soy milk, 1 dollar vegetables, and Matcha favored kit kats. You can buy regular Kit Kat bars any where. But the green tea Matcha flavored Kit Kat Bars, which used to only be found in Japan, can also be found at Chinese Supermarkets. (their not for me.... but I will eat them now that they are in the house.) Got that. Got my soy milk and went back to the preschool to teach my class in their little yard. A woman passed by and saw the man.

"Do you think he's just sleeping?"

"I'm pretty sure he's just passed out."

She seemed pretty concerned but I wasn't. Why? I don't know he just looked like he was sleeping to me.Later on she asked me if she should call 911.

"I wouldn't. I mean he's not dead if that's what you're thinking."

and then later,

I'm not sure how I knew this, but I did. Not that I've seen a lot of dead bodies. I should also say that it is warm today. If someone was lying there like that and it's polar vortex.. yeah you need to wake him up and call the ambulance or police or whatever. But today... I don't think so.

The woman called 911 anyway and they said they would send an ambulance and that she could try and wake him up. She relayed this to me.

"Oh do you want me to wake him up?'

"No no no no ..."

Now here's the thing. From a responsible citizen's perspective, she is right. But for someone who's just been around, I mean, if I want to see if he's alive I could just nudge him with my foot. However once you bring in the world of liabilities and suing and chances of the situation going bad. This is a bad idea.

If you want to bring in the statistics of the situation going bad if you call the police, because you want him removed... well that's bad too and technically he isn't doing any harm... but he is right near a preschool and he might be bad for business.

So A Fire truck came, on the other side and I had to talk to them. Here is an interesting thing. Whenever you want to find out what's going on, you ask the white guy first. There is more of a chance he speaks English. There is more of a chance you will be able to talk to him. When you are white you ask other white people, that's just what I've noticed.

Of course since I am the guy to talk to.. it also appears that I am in charge of this whole situation and that I must have called for the ambulance.

The Fire fighters went over and immediately knew he was just sleeping and gave me, "You're an idiot wasting our time looks.... and you're probably a racist too." The guy who was sleeping was black.

"No no... I'm not the one that called." I wanted to say. But what good is that. You could talk about loss of tax payer money and all that. But truth be told there is a reason why this guy would not just be sleeping there like that on Newbury Street. And basically, Chinatown used to be the type of place where bums, prostitutes, pimps, and all sorts could congregate. But it is fast becoming a Newbury Street type of place.

I taught my little class feeling somewhat foolish, but honestly if you think about it, that's what the Cities services are for. Then I went to my street sweeping. Our friendly neighborhood Chinese bum was in the playground with his pants down. (He was still wearing underwear. I got my equipment and started cleaning. He moved out of my way, but he didn't leave. Technically he wasn't bothering anyone. (Except that I know that the day care would probably not go in the playground because he was there.
But I wasn't going to call anyone about it. I would just sweep up and be annoying. He looked like he was getting ready to leave. He had less stuff than usual and overall the playground was clean. He dropped something.

"Is this yours?" It was a necklace. I said this in English Cantonese and Mandarin. The guy's face had cuts on it. He took the necklace but did not say anything, so I still don't know what language he sleeps.

It was just me sweeping so I only did the one side of the street. Not much trash actually. A man smoking put out his cigarette and then carefully placed it in my barrel. That meant something to me because it was acknowledgement that I was trying to clean up and that he too was appreciative and wasn't going to just throw his cigarette on the ground. Now maybe he did this when I wasn't there. But to be honest, Last time I was on this street I was totally putting orange peels, kicking lettuce and kicking oranges right onto the street while in a lion head. But today I was sweeping up. It's more of a mental exercise I guess. In any case the street was pretty clean.

A group of children walked passed me on their little outing. I wondered.. I bet they did not go to the playground because that guy is still there.

When I went back to the playground he was sleeping on the bench. I mean technically what's wrong with that? But what teacher is going to bring preschoolers into the playground with him? Today was the first day sweeping after winter break... so I wasn't going to be all hard about it.

In any case. The weather was too nice. In any case... what would you do?


Unknown said…
Unless I saw that they were bleeding or seemed in distress, I would have just walked away.