We use the term “good Samaritan” often in current times, but not everyone knows where the label comes from. Those familiar with the good book know that it’s a parable that was told by Jesus, featuring a man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead on the road.
No one helped him until a Samaritan (who seemed the most unlikely rescuer because there was so much strife between Jews and Samaritans) put his differences aside and helped the poor, broken man.
According to one woman, this scene played itself out almost exactly on Nov. 13 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a modernized version, but the storyline is still there.
Taylor Ballek was horrified when she realized how many people had ignored a human being who was in obvious distress, lying on the road in below-freezing weather.
“On my way to work this morning I was getting off the exit ramp at 131 south and Pearl and it was pretty backed up,” she posted on Nov. 13. “I couldn’t tell why but I saw cars going around something in the road. I assumed maybe it was something that had fallen off a truck or garbage.”
“Several cars, just going around him, like it was no big deal,” she said to WXMI. “Like it was a piece of garbage and not a human life laying there in the middle of the road.”
“Never in my imagination would I think that people would be driving around a human being laying in the road, who clearly had fallen down and was in need of help,” she continued in her post.
“I pulled over and ran up to him to see if he was ok as cars zipped by me. The man stared at me blankly and didn’t respond so I called 911 so medics could move him and check to see if he was ok.”
Eventually, she said another person joined her and helped, parking near them and flipping on his hazard lights to divert traffic. Another woman, one of Ballek’s coworkers, spotted Ballek and the man and came over with a blanket.
The three stayed with the unresponsive man until medics arrived, but Ballek was understandably incensed.
She stressed that her post on Facebook wasn’t an attempt to garner likes or pat herself on the back for what she did, but to question the humanity of the people who saw what was happening and did nothing.
“I’m not sharing this for accolades or recognition, but I’m sharing this because I wonder how long he was laying in the middle of the road before we stopped. How many people kept driving and didn’t think it was important enough to take a few minutes out of their morning to check on a human life?”
“It was 17 degrees outside. I’m so disappointed. I expect more out of my community,” she continued.
“Don’t be a bystander, help people who are in need, stick up for people when you hear something that doesn’t sit right with you. And believe me, your morning meetings can wait to help a man get out of the middle of the road before he gets killed by a vehicle.”
Her final sentence has been ringing in people’s ears, a scathing request for those around her: “Be better, Grand Rapids.”
While the man’s current condition is unknown, according to WXMI, medical professionals expect him to recover — perhaps only because of Ballek’s intervention.
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