I think I’ve witnessed the beginning of the end for humanity.
And, sadly, it didn’t come in the form of a Kardashian, Justin Bieber or a reality TV show about blind dates or would-be singers.
No. The beginning of the end was marked by indifference.
On Tuesday, an older gentleman fell in the Publix parking lot. And it wasn’t just a stumble, or like that time I tripped going up the stairs and skinned my knee. No, this fellow’s cane went out from under him and he went DOWN. Hard. It was a full-on, face-forward sprawl onto the asphalt.
And of the 15 or 20 people in the parking lot or standing outside the front of the store, I was the only one who immediately went over to him to ask if he was OK and to help him up.
The. Only. One.
A woman in a Honda blaring some song by the boy band du jour swerved around him, which I guess is better than hitting him, but she didn’t stop. The dude getting out of his Ford pickup right next to where I was attempting to help the man to his feet didn’t stop. The tween with the iPhone didn’t even stop texting.
No one stopped to help him up, to dust him off, to help him to the sidewalk where he could sit down.
Luckily, he wasn’t hurt — just shaken. And I let him use my cellphone (he said he doesn’t like carrying “one of those things” because he just wants “a little peace and quiet and doesn’t want to talk to people all the time”) to call his wife to come pick him up, because he didn’t feel like shopping or driving. And I sat with him while he waited, because even though he said he was fine, I’ve had some experience with butt-busting falls and know a bruiser when I see one.
And I feel better about myself because of it. But I feel so, so much worse about my fellow man.
What kind of society have we become that Angry Birds or a six-pack of Bud (what the man in the Ford pickup left the store carrying while I was sitting with my new friend) are more important than helping someone in need?
And, unfortunately, I don’t even think this is the fault of the Kardashians or reality TV shows — I’ve seen “Extreme Home Makeover,” and I’m pretty sure Kim Kardashian donated all the gifts from her 72-day marriage to charity (though what Goodwill would do with a $7,000 crystal vase, I have no idea. It’s the thought that counts, OK?).
I’m just saying: Maybe Haley Joel Osment was onto something when he told Kevin Spacey to pay it forward. And I think we should worry a little less about “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and becoming the next “American Idol,” and a little more about “do unto others.”
Or else we’ll become a society that doesn’t even deserve the Kardashians.
Oh, the humanity.