I've been listening to some great online Psychology lectures by Yale Professor Paul Bloom at Open Yale Courses. In one of the lectures he talks about why it is when someone is in trouble and calling for help with lots of people around, that no one helps them. Professor Bloom says it's because each person assumes someone else will help. He says if the victim singles someone out he is much more likely to receive help.
I thought, yeah that sounds about right. Whenever I have taken first aid classes they always instruct you to single someone out to call 911. But then the other day my mother told me a story that is almost unbelievable. If it hadn't happened to my father directly, I might not have believed it.
My father, who is 83 and quite infirm, was outside and noticed some dead flowers in a flower bed, so he got down on the ground to pull them off. But when he went to get up, he couldn't get off the ground. He waited to see if anyone would come out to help him, but no one was around. So he waited a while, but when he got tired of waiting he started to call out for help.
My parent's house is on the top of a 90 foot cliff that over looks a golf course. There are about 30 houses perched on that cliff. A maintenance man working on the golf course below heard my father calling for help. He of course assumed it was an emergency and called 911. Then he climbed up the cliff,scratched and bleeding, helped my father up and then ran out into the street to flag down the ambulance, police cars and firetruck that had been racing around the neighborhood trying to find the person in need. WOW!!!