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Neighbor to Neighbor: Hope still blossoms among weeds of greed

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Several weeks ago I had a very bad accident — a fall. I had been walking along Merrick Boulevard. Although the sun had set, I had no difficulty seeing where I was going. I don’t remember tripping. I don’t even remember feeling that I was on my way to hitting the sidewalk very hard. I had not felt ill, nor had I slowed my pace. But, all of a sudden, I was down. My glasses flew off to the right and got scratched a bit, but not broken. My nose bled profusely, as did my forehead, lips and chin. Some of my teeth did not fair well either. I was a mess!

As I was getting up and trying to stop the flow of blood with a package of tissues I had in my pocket, a couple nearby came over and offered assistance. Another couple pulled up to the curb and offered to drive me to Ormondy Pharmacy, about one and one-half blocks away, since I declined an ambulance. I accepted gratefully.

Although I was a stranger to that pharmacy, I could not have been treated better by Rorberto, the pharmacist, had I been a family member. The pharmacy employees were generous with their attention and concern, as well as with everything they could possibly do to help, including making a call to my good friend, Clover Goldson, who picked me up and drove me home.

All of those good people give me hope that all is not lost. All too often these days, there are people who rejoice in the suffering of others. We were shocked to hear about that after the tragedy of Sept. 11.

I think there are very few who haven’t seen similar reactions from people who had no reason to consider a victim an enemy. They wouldn’t attempt to help in any way and they seemed to enjoy watching someone else in pain. It is beyond my comprehension.

Prevention is my thing. Some time ago, I attempted to stop some junior high students who were in traffic after dismissal time, challenging cars to hit them. Time after time, the cars swerved into the next lane, creating vehicular turmoil. As soon as I got near them I asked them to please get on the sidewalk. They laughed. I told them if they caused an accident, I would witness against them. They came to the sidewalk and told me they were just “having fun.” I asked if they would have felt any guilt if they had caused an accident. Their response was, “No!” I asked if they had considered that some driver might hit them and what would they do then. One of them grinned widely and said, “I’d sue his a-- off!”

“That would be pay back,” a second one answered in support of his friend’s reply.

Greed always seems to show its ugly face when the individual involved has not learned, or ignores, the rules of ethics. Whether it is the woman who bought a cup of hot coffee and then unsuccessfully tried to hold it between her knees, only to be burned, or the parent who is suing the owners of the building that her son flew into while he was piloting a plane in Florida, or any of the other possibilities we hear about more and more — greed is the goal.

There are unethical lawyers who “will do anything for a buck,” and even suggest to their equally unethical clients to “go for it.” The sad part is, they generally get all their laughs on their way to the bank.

We can only hope that people will stop trying to make the innocent appear guilty, forcing them, sometimes with the help of inappropriately sympathetic courts and juries, to pay for something that was not their fault.

As for my own accident, in spite of all the advice I had to sue, I did not. No one caused me to fall and several people helped as much as possible. Ice packs took care of the swelling on my head, face and knee and vitamin E helped heal the wounds. I’m glad my glasses didn’t damage my vision. Now I can look people straight in the eye and still say, “I believe in personal responsibility. I don’t want to try to make any innocent person pay for something that was not that person’s fault.”

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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