Wednesday, February 14, 2018


This is not the post I was expecting or planning to write tonight.

A coworker discovered a new Indian restaurant near work, so after multiple rescheduling, we finally made it there for lunch today. As tends to happen after Indian buffets, I was absolutely stuffed. Having zero plans this Valentine's Day, I was very much looking forward to a quiet evening at home, with a corn and bean salad recipe I've been meaning to try for dinner.

Till a friend texted "see you at 7", and confused me completely, because I thought we were meeting tomorrow. I scrolled up and realised I was the one who had suggested meeting today, except I know I meant Thursday, but whatevs, not like I had competing plans on either day.

Normally, when I have plans after work, I just stay at work till it's time to go, because going home and then leaving again just seems like too much effort. Today, however, I really had nothing to do by about 5.30, and didn't feel like sticking around for another hour, so I figured I will go home after all, and chill for about 45 minutes before having to head out, since the restaurant was close to home.

I was walking to my car in the garage, and realised I'd left my glasses and sunglasses at my desk. My purse was heavy, and I was almost at my car, so I figured I'll drop my bag off and then go back in. And as I got to my car, I happened to glance up at the ramp that goes to the floor above where my car was parked, and noticed a man lying on the ground. I called out tentatively to ask if he was okay, and got no response. I ran up to him, to see what had happened, and realised that he was bleeding profusely from his nose, and not responding at all.

I'm embarrassed, ashamed, and just plain heartbroken to admit that I have no first aid or CPR knowledge, had no clue what to do, and so did nothing other than dump all my belongings on the floor, and frantically wave down cars of other people who were leaving work. Thankfully, two people stopped, and one of them did know CPR, which she started doing, while we called 911. Others stopped too, and for the next horrible, horrible 15 minutes, a group of four or five people just kept doing CPR on this man, one person kept trying to see if he could find a pulse, and I, along with a growing crowd, just stood there an watched. By the time the police and medics arrived, it was increasingly obvious it was too late to do anything, but they tried too, till even they stopped.

As the half dozen of us who had been there throughout stood around, waiting for the cops to speak to us as needed, some of them told me I shouldn't feel so bad about knowing what to do, because I saw him and I came to him, and I stopped others who tried to help. My manager later echoed the same thing. But what if someone else had found him? Someone who knew what to do? Maybe those two minutes between me finding him and the CPR starting would have made the difference?

It was such a weird confluence of events, today. If I hadn't mixed up days for dinner. If I hadn't finished up work early and decided to go home first. If I had turned back to get my glasses instead of wanting to drop off my bag first.  If any of those things hadn't happened, I wouldn't have seen him when I did.

But if I had known what to do, maybe the evening would have ended differently as well.