The Man with the Red Truck

I have a problem …

See yesterday was driving home from work. It was about 4:30. The sun was getting ready to set in about half an hour. It was cold. The wind was blowing and it was snowing.

As I was pulling up to this light near New Life Church, there was a guy standing by the side of the road. He had shoulderlength hair and was kind of scruffy looking. (Although that’s a pretty typical look for guys in this state.) Anyway, he was standing at the edge of the road and there was a truck a few feet behind him. He was holding out jumper cables. And he looked desperate.

The light was red, so I stopped and watched him in my mirror. He would motion to every car that went by with the jumper cables. Nobody stopped. I sat there at the light, trying to decide if I should turn around and try to help him. I watched probably 20 cars roll past him without even glancing at him. And when the light turned green, I drove away. And for the rest of the ride home (and the rest of the evening, actually) I felt horrible for not stopping.

So here’s my question. Did I make the right decision? Because if I did, it felt pretty awful. Which makes me think maybe I didn’t.

But I was alone. I’m a woman. If I had had someone else in the car with me, I would have stopped. If I had some pepper spray with me, I would have stopped. If I was a guy, I would have stopped. If he had been a woman, I would have stopped. I didn’t stop because I was afraid of becoming the next day’s headline.

I hate the fact that we live in a society where I can’t stop and help someone because I’m afraid of what might happen to me. And how do I justify not stopping with the command in the Bible to help those in need? He was obviously in need and I had the ability to help him. But I didn’t.

So help me out here. To you married guys out there, would you want your wife stopping to help a random guy who was stranded? Is it any different because I’m not married? Should I, as a single woman, have stopped? What really is more important … protecting myself or helping someone in need? And how does my choice to protect myself fit with the verse about treating others as I would like to be treated? And putting others before myself? Should I have trusted to the Lord to protect me?

I’m seriously struggling with this. Any thoughts?

9 thoughts on “The Man with the Red Truck

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  1. I would have done the same thing you did and I would be beating myself up over it as well. I think it’s the right call because there are so many unknowns. If it makes you feel any better, he wasn’t there when I drove by headed towards the gym. I think I left work at around 4:25, so he couldn’t have been there for very long. He also wasn’t there when I came home from the gym, probably around 5:30…so somebody had to have stopped.

  2. Actually, Karyn, I saw his truck still there this morning. So I was wondering if no one stopped for him.But my bigger dilemma is the whole ethical thing … do I have the right (Biblically) to not help him to protect myself? I’m trying to think of where the Bible could support that, but I haven’t come up with anything.

  3. God gave us a brain and the Holy Spirit. If your brain was saying no and you felt it in your spirit to not stop, then you did the right thing. You aren’t the only one that God can use to help someone. Because we live in a sinful world we can’t just be ignorant to it and pretend that nothing will happen. I would have driven by. Or perhaps you could have called someone at work that could have come out to help him. But the fact that you were feeling compassion was a good thing.

  4. Ok, so I’m a married guy. Would I want my wife stopping for this guy? NO. But, I would want her to pull over, ask the guy if it was ok if she called her husband to come and jump the car for him. I would have driven across down to help the guy out.Did you know any guys you KNOW would have done the same? Hopefully, you do. I don’t know, it’s not an easy question…

  5. I know I did the wise thing. But I grew more and more furious with each car that drove by with a guy in it or with multiple people in it and didn’t stop.To the guy who needed help, I was just another in a long line of self-absorbed jerks.

  6. That is a tough question. I cannot think of a place in the Bible that justifies NOT helping someone out of self-protection.That being said, I would be adamantly opposed to my beautiful wife OR my beautiful single sister stopping to help him. It’s a common sense thing, and the reality is that it’s the world in which we live.I agree with Carolyn, we have the Holy Spirit for a reason. but I also agree that in every situation there’s probably a “right” and “safe” solution (like calling a friend to help or something).Then again, in the interest of being transparent, had you called me, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be all that willing to drive up there to help him …I know that doesn’t help you much, but it does shed some light on where my heart might be slightly off-center.Now we’ve both got a dilemma.

  7. You made the right choice, Beck. My wife and I have had this same conversation a couple of times…and I always tell her the same thing: Don’t stop. Call me. If I can do something about it, I will.

  8. Hey Beck! I like your blog. I’ll add it to my blog favs. Check mine out! I liked this entry b/c I would have done the same thing and then agonized over it, too.I say don’t sweat it, but next time stop! 🙂 He’s not going to hurt you on the shoulder of a busy road, right? Then you’ll feel better, too.

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