Why did I do that? Why did I just leave my friends there for themselves? What happened if they got hurt? These were the thoughts racing through my mind after the whole fiasco happened and is still embedded in my mind today.
Friends are like family to me, I cherish them and love them despite their imperfections and will try my best to help them. However, it made me ponder, What will I do if a disaster happens? Am I capable of thinking of others before myself? Little did I know at the time, I would soon experience the situation and make decisions I will forever reflect upon.
Another sunny day at the Boys and Girls Club afterschool daycare, my friends and I were working on a project for science class. We were sitting at a table outside where two of the staff members were spread around the playground, conversing with kids, and trying to pass time quickly. The playground itself was relatively small and open with a low metal fence and a running path along with medium traffic due to being located in Mile Square Park.
Snipping and gluing away, I was facing the fence while my friends, Kyle and Dorothy, only had an angle of the playground. Steadily, a man came pacing down the run path and took a small leap over the only barrier between us and him. I immediately took glance at him and a million things inundated my
mind, Did that just happen? What is he going to do? Did the staff members not see them? Only one thing really stuck out at me, I need to tell the staff, now.
Everything after was autonomous, like a robot with fixed programming, and little to no thought came after. I sprang out of my seat, sprinted towards a red-shirted staff member and told him about the man and the entire situation. The caretaker informed his co-workers on what he has also seen and they slowly start closing in on him. I felt a sense of pride and duty for what I thought was a heroic act, until reality caught up to me that I forgot my friends. Glancing back I saw the intruder, creeping six feet away from my friends who were oblivious to the situation. I just left them there, I thought. No warning or anything, what if something bad happens to them right now? What if he pulls out a weapon? To my luck, he was just a confused man who needed help, and was safely escorted out of the club.
My friends and I regrouped inside and the playground was closed for the rest of the day as the staff members discuss child safety. We laughed and discussed about what had just occurred and how I completely ditched them without telling them the situation.
The whole day could’ve been different if the man actually had evil intentions on my friends. They could have been hurt or attacked, and it would’ve been because of my irrational actions. To this day I still think about this moment in my life. It made me more aware of my surroundings: whether it be the people around me, the environment, or more importantly, my friends. My primal instincts of acting for my own survival when I could’ve helped my friends at the same time still bothers me to this day and evoked change in me. It may be difficult. It may be hard to imagine such a situation. But, you must always be ready when a bad situation arrives and not let your primal instincts make autonomous decisions for you. Think about the situation, and think of others as well as yourself.
Here’s a video summarizing the fight or flight response and how I instantly ran away: