As you know, if you read this blog, I work with men and woman who are addicted to drugs. I thought I had become unshockable, but what I saw inside the BP has shocked me and left me feeling a little shaken.
As I walked in I noticed that there was a large que (annoying but not shocking), there were people milling about, paying for petrol, getting food, looking at the magazines. (nothing unusual). What was weird was that people were stepping over something. I couldn't see what, at first, but I assumed it was a spill on the floor or something of the like. As I got closer I saw it was not a spill but a young lady. She was skinny, filthy and had obviously dropped where she stood in the line, most likely as the result of a drug she had taken not long before entering the BP. But it wasn't the fact that she was lying there that shocked me. It was the fact that customers stepped over her like she was a log of wood, that the man behind the counter continued to serve them and that not one person cared that there was a human being obviously vulnerable and in need of some assistance right there infront of them.
I said to the dude behind the counter "do you need some help with her?" He replied "what? Oh her, no she is drunk I've called the cops they are on their way."
I knelt beside her rolled her over onto her side, pulled down her dress, which was up well above her waist, and put her bag under her head for a pillow. She was so deeply under the influence of what ever she had taken she didn't even react to my touch or my voice. I wanted to stay but Elly and her friends were waiting. So feeling guilty and worrying what would become of her I left her there, on the floor with people ignoring her very existence. All the way to dancing I wanted to go back, to be with her when the police came, to ensure they treated her with dignity, but I couldn't who would pick up Elly and her friends? So I drove on hoping and praying she would be ok.
I am sad that this is what our world has become. A place where we ignore those who are most in need around us, where communities take the "not in my back yard" approach to social justice issues and where we dont know our neighbours names let alone have a relationship with them. I realise that most of the people in the petrol station where like me, some where to be, on a time schedule. Thats just it though right? Its all about the schedule.
I am not writing this for pats on the back, cos really I did only what every other person who was in the line infront of me should have done, treated that poor young girl with a little dignity and respect. After all given slightly different life choices or slightly different experience she could easily have been one of us.