Tag Archives: Good Samaritan
- by David O’Leary
Published on the 12 September 2013 12:00
BY night he’s a mild mannered dad of three but by day he’s a hero bus driver, ready to leap from his cab to help the injured and distressed. And his services are in high demand.
Good Samaritan, Neil Reid, 38, from Gilmerton, has swung into action an incredible five times in the space of just ten months, leaving his bus mid-journey to deal with a variety of dramas.
The Lothian Buses driver has given aid to both the victim of a pub brawl and a traffic accident, was the first on the scene of an attempted suicide, helped a disorientated woman back to her home and most recently helped find a missing man before he had even been reported missing.
Depot bosses believe “super Neil” should be singled out for some sort of award, but the worker insists he’s just doing his job. He said: “I don’t think of what I did in any of these situations to be special, it’s my job to look after my passengers and members of the public.”
Neil’s sixth sense for city residents in need first kicked in on Leith Walk last November, when he saw a man assaulted outside a bar.
He immediately stopped his bus, rounded up two first aiders from his passengers and jumped out to tend the bloodied man ahead of the arrival of paramedics.
Just months later in January, he was on hand again to help a passenger who was knocked down by a taxi while crossing Waverley Bridge. Neil wrapped the young girl, who had suffered a broken leg, in his jacket and called for an ambulance.
In June he witnessed an incident which will “live with him the rest of his days” after he spotted a man falling backwards over the Dean Bridge.
Neil jumped from his bus and using only the light from his mobile raced to find him in dense undergrowth 30 feet below. He soon found the man “unconscious, but breathing hard” and with severe injuries to his face.
Again in June, he helped a disorientated woman who boarded his bus and phoned his depot to arrange for a colleague to bring her home.
And on Wednesday last week, he noted an elderly passenger in Colinton who seemed “out of sorts”. Alarmed by the man’s agitated state, he phoned his controller and asked for the police to be informed. Minutes later he was told the man’s distressed wife had just filed a missing persons report to try and find the gentleman.
The modest hero said: “I’d like to think if one of my daughters was hurt or in distress that somebody would stop and help. Every day bus drivers help out in similar situations, it’s just that all of mine have been clumped together over the last ten months.”
Ian Craig, CEO of Lothian Buses, hailed the hard-working driver. He said: “I’m continually delighted when I hear stories about drivers going above and beyond the call of duty to help out members of the public. However, what Neil has done over the past year is truly exceptional. We’re very proud to call him a Lothian Buses employee.”
The 2004 film Hotel Rwanda chronicles the genocide that took place in Rwanda, Africa, in 1994. Three months of bloodshed in Rwanda resulted in over one million deaths in the very small country, , but the rest of the world hardly took notice.
Part of the problem was that the international community was very careful not to use the word genocide when talking about what was going on in Rwanda. Genocide is murder of a whole population of people based on religion or race or ethnicity. And if genocide is occurring, the international community through international law has a legal responsibility to get involved.
But why didn’t people want to intervene in Rwanda? How could the world sit silently by as one million were killed? That’s a hard question to answer.
But world leaders definitely did not see Rwanda as their problem. They didn’t want to get involved. And they sought ways to free them from their legal obligation to intervene, even if they could not avoid their moral and ethical obligation to act.
When are we obligated to act? When must we get involved? That seems to be the true question that comes up in the gospel lesson of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, posed by the lawyer. When must we get involved?
The road to Jericho from Jerusalem was a dangerous road to travel.. It was a road where many people experienced violence and crime – being robbed on the road to Jericho wouldn’t have been uncommon.
The road to Jericho wasn’t unlike places today – places where you’re wise enough not to go alone, at night, or probably even with other people if you can avoid it.
And we know places across the world that are Jericho Roads – in fact, today, most of us would not dare to travel to some African countries, Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or North Korea. The Jericho Road is Syria, Zimbabwi. It is Rwanda in 1994. We know what the Jericho Road is, without ever having been there.
The Jericho Road is any place where there is violence; it is any place where there is oppression; it is any place where people are robbed of the dignity and robbed of their love and robbed of their food and robbed of their freedom.
The Jericho Road is always with us.
Jesus’ parable tells us that what lies between God and us is the Jericho Road. If we want to be in a relationship with God, if we want to be disciples, if we want to inherit eternal life, we need to work out what and who is between us and God.
We need to love our neighbours. And we need to understand that between God and us we will find every other human being. Between God and us is every other person in this community. Between God and us is every person in every part of this town, It is every person in Iraq, North Korea, and Rwanda, each one created in God’s image. Between God and us is the road to Jericho, lined with the ones Christ calls our neighbours, lined with the ones God calls us to love.
Who is my neighbour? Who are we called to risk for? Jesus asked, “which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
A psychology professor who had no children of his own would frequently admonish a neighbour scolding a child, saying, “You should love your boy, not punish him”
One hot summer day, the professor repaired his concrete driveway. Tired after several hours of work, he laid down the trowel, wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and started for the house.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a mischievous little boy putting his foot into the fresh cement. He rushed over and started ranting and raving at the child and was about to grab the child by the scuff of the neck, when his neighbour leaned from a window and said, “Watch it professor! Don’t you remember? You must love the child,”
At this the professor yelled back furiously, “I do love him, in the abstract, but not in the concrete.”
Sometimes that is all we want to do is think about love in the abstract. It’s something to discuss, something to philosophise about. But that’s not enough. Love is something you do.
Christ tells a story that illustrates this love in action. A man was in need. He had suffered a beating and was robbed on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. He was ignored by two people, a priest and a Levite both of whom mouthed the law of love but were afraid to act. His desperate need was met by a Samaritan who was willing to act graciously toward him.
When we think of love of people in general – outside our families, in the community, in the world, it’s not based on a feeling . It is essentially an action. Its about action not about natural inclination.
John in one of his epistles admonished his readers: “Little children, let us not love in word and speech, but in deed and in truth.”
In referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus asked the lawyer in the Gospel, “Which of the three do you think was a neighbour to the one who fell into the hands of robbers?” He replied, “The one who had mercy on him”.
It wasn’t the one who talked about love, or professed love, or felt love but the one who acted in love.
And Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him” (Martin Luther King Jr)
He’s been a fool, perhaps, and would
Have prospered had he tried,
But he was one who never could
Pass by the other side.
An honest man whom men called soft,
While laughing in their sleeves—
No doubt in business ways he oft
Had fallen amongst thieves.
Henry Lawson (17 June 1867 – 2 September 1922)