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Just one person.

By Sheryl | Singapore 2019

This morning, I was aimlessly scrolling through Facebook while waiting in line at a popular breakfast chain. I needed my kopi fix, and the queue was long. It’s a Saturday morning, so the neighbourhood mall was as busy as ever.

Suddenly I heard a chorus of “are you ok???” happening right in front of me. This young lady, who presumably went for some exercise before this, fainted in the queue.

Honestly, I haven’t got my kopi fix and my nose was wreaking its usual havoc, so I was a bit stunned and all my first-aid knowledge did not come promptly like how its supposed to. But the rest sprung into action – two ladies got the girl to lie down while propping her legs up, one chimed up that a sugary drink is needed, and another uncle even tried to do some TCM thingy.

While I was still not very near the head of the queue, the people in front gave way and I quickly tried to get the sugary drink that this girl needed. It was hard to get the attention of the auntie who was alternating between being cashier and drink-maker. I finally got her and told her I needed a half-warm drink with 100% sugar, and it’s urgent because it’s for someone who just fainted.

I have no intention of shaming the auntie (as you will see later on), but her response was “ok ok just quickly take this, very busy now. Ask her to go somewhere else where it’s not so busy to rest. Not here.” The vibe that the auntie gave me was that this fainting girl is none of her business. She wasn’t going to pause her priority of clearing the queue just for one person.

With little time to think/feel then, I just quickly got the drink to the girl. Thankfully she’s ok – upon probing by some uncles, it was revealed that she didn’t eat that morning. So one can guess that her blood sugar was too low.

One of the heroes of this story was this young mother who was right behind the fainted lady in the queue, with her 2 young kids. Obviously, she would have 10 million things to do today, just by the fact that she has 2 kids in tow. But she didn’t hesitate to help the lady while delegating the buying of food to her kids. She stayed with the lady until it was all ok; she didn’t rush off. All this time, she was also reassuring her kids who were probably feeling fearful. This may be contrasted to the typical Singaporean scene of a mother looking away from trouble, hushing her kids and telling them that it’s none of their business. I think she was a really good example to her kids; I want to be like that next time.

Back to the drink-selling auntie. On hindsight, I felt sad at her nonchalant response that she gave in her busyness. Maybe the auntie’s nonchalance could be attributed to the fact that even though the young lady fainted maybe only 2 metres away from the auntie, the auntie couldn’t see because the scene was blocked by a food cabinet. But I think this reflects the attitude of my heart sometimes… In a parallel, maybe the one person who may be considered by society to be the least/last/lost is right in front of me, but I’m blocked by things I need to do so I can’t see. Maybe sometimes I know that the one person in front of me needs help, but I want to turn a blind eye because I don’t want to care. Maybe I try to push away the responsibility of caring by asking the person to go somewhere else; somewhere where it’s “less busy”.

Of course, I’m not advocating that we help every single person in this whole wide world. We are not saviours so we can’t do that. But what if the one person God wants us to love may just be right in front of us? How will we choose to love that one person today?

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