On Memorial Day weekend, I went to pick up my oldest from work because her car was in the body shop after she was rear-ended a couple of weeks earlier. I had my 16 year old in the car with me and we were just chatting and laughing as we pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store. As I pulled in, we noticed a couple of things - there was a young man and an older man outside the doors talking and an older couple who had just left the store and they were walking towards the cars but kept turning around looking at the young man and older man. As we passed the to men, I took a look and it looked like the young man had been beat up and the older man was on the phone. My daughter then yelled "Mom! He's bleeding! We need to help him!" and I quickly pulled into a parking spot and ran to the young man. I asked him "Are you OK?" and he yelled "NO! I WAS STABBED!" He had been holding a jacket on his neck but he pulled it away to show me - OH MY STARS!!
This man's neck had a massive wound from behind his ear to under his chin and it was gaping like I've not seen a wound gape. The gentleman who was with him was a customer and I asked him if he had called 911 but he said that the young man had called - he had just called the young man's family and told them to meet him at the hospital. The other couple had seen the young man covered in blood but went to their car, got in and drove away. I ran to my car, got paper towels while I told my daughter to run into the store to get gauze and I got the young man to sit on the curb. I got behind him and crouched down, pulled off a huge wad of paper towels and pulled the jacket off his neck and put the clean paper towels on the wound. My daughter came out and told me there was nothing big enough (she had seen the neck wound so knew a 2X2 wasn't going to cut it) so I just continued to sit and hold this young man's neck as he leaned back on me. The poor thing was so scared and was saying "I'm going to die" and I told him he wasn't - he was going to be OK but then he showed me the amount of blood that was dripping on the ground. I realized that he had a large wound on his hand that apparently cut a larger blood vessel so I got more paper towels and put them on his hand and was now holding his neck and hand. I just kept telling him he was going to be OK as he cried. He told me that he was in a fight a couple of blocks over and a guy broke a beer bottle and cut him with it. He ran to the store to get away and to get to a public area. At some point, one of the cashiers brought me a pair of gloves but it was too hard to get them on as I was holding on to this kid.
Within a few minutes, the ambulance pulled up. The paramedic came over to see what was up and I told him that he had a severe laceration on his neck that was very deep and another laceration on his hand that was actively bleeding. The paramedic took one look at what I had in my hands and realized how serious the situation was. He told me "Let's get him right into the ambulance." and we got him up to walk him to the gurney. I finally let go of him when he went into the ambulance and the paramedic took over. The ambulance left really quickly and were were all left standing there in shock. Wow.
The manager of the store came over to me and told me "You need to wash up. Nicole - take your mom into the employee bathroom and have her wash well." so we went in to the store. I realized with all of that, I ended up with only a drop of blood on my hand and nothing on my clothing which had me shocked since the young man was bleeding so profusely! After the girls and I got home, it took us hours to get tired enough to go to sleep because of all of the adreneline that we had going! The only thing was that I smelled terribly of alcohol - he was that drunk. :(
So, as I processed all of this in speaking to other people, I realized something. Not one person touched this young man until I came along. There were numerous other people around, but only one man stayed with the young man but he still wouldn't touch him even though he was bleeding badly from numerous wounds. EVERYONE I spoke to said "You shouldn't have touched him. How do you know he didn't have AIDS or hepetitis? I'd never have touched him. You need to be more careful." We have come to the point in our world where a young man might have bled to death because people were afraid to get blood on themselves. You know what? I understand the world's view on this but what about us as Christians? Why are we afraid? What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of dying? We know where we're going so why are we afraid? A person without Christ is afraid of death and rightly so but why are we? I will not stop helping someone in a serious situation like this just because I might die from it some day. If I had gloves, I most certainly would have used them and I now have a good trauma kit right in the door of my car with gloves, large surgical pads and such but if I didn't have it, I don't care. I'd still help the person. If I can help someone have more time here on earth to make a decision for Christ, is it not worth my time, my effort and yes, maybe even my life? I know where I'm going and I'm not afraid to go.
I do pray that this young man was OK. I don't know how he is - he never came back to the store to get his cell phone but he might have been so drunk that he just figured he lost it somewhere. But more than anything else, I pray that I helped him enough to survive and to maybe, through this trauma, he will find Christ. As Paul said, "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." (Phil 1:21) If I live, I will work to help others find Christ. If I have to die doing so, I gain and hopefully they gained too. I guess the bottom line of all of this for me is: which do I value more - my life here on earth or the salvation of souls? To me, that is a no brainer.
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