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I mean, a couple years back, this guy I work with on the floor—his name’s Francis. It’s a Sunday in fall and he’s cleaning out the gutters; the big oak tree behind his house dumped all its leaves and there was rain due that week, so you’ve got to get ’em clear, right? He’s up on a ladder, one of those stupid rickety metal ones, and he’s got the Bears game going on the radio on his porch. Well, he’s just a couple inches shy of the end of the gutter and doesn’t want to shimmy down, move it over that little bit, and shimmy back up again, so he tries to jump it over that last little bit—I’m not saying this wasn’t a bad decision on his part, you understand—and the ladder gives out from under him. He drops two stories. Breaks his leg pretty bad, and so Francis is lying in a pile of dirty leaves, his leg bent the wrong way altogether, hollering in pain. Trying to call out that he’s hurt, but because of the pain and the shock or whatever, he’s just barking out sounds. You have to realize, he’s just operating on the most basic level—all he wants is help. And does it come?

Well, eventually, yeah, an ambulance shows up, takes him to the hospital. He still limps sometimes, and he always says he can tell when it’ll rain because his bones start to ache, but we all know he’s just bullshitting. But the point is, one of his neighbors must have called 9-1-1 for the ambulance, sure, but not one of them came out himself to check on Francis. Either they couldn’t drag themselves away from the Bears losing again, or they’d already drank themselves to sleep, or they hear screaming and they get scared. Well, Francis doesn’t live in a great neighborhood, but it’s not the kind of place you’re gonna get stabbed at quarter to two in the afternoon on a Sunday or anything.

But still, nobody checked on Francis until the paramedics arrived.

So I stop when I see a car on the side of the road, day or night, sun, rain, or snow. Hell, it might as well be me, anyway; my granddad taught me a little about engines. Even if it’s just to change the spare tire—you’d be amazed how many people don’t know the basics of car care like that. Of course, sometimes someone’s just pulled over to take a phone call, and half of the time they say Triple A’s already on its way, but they appreciate the gesture—the kinda world we live in, it’s a rare thing nowadays.

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