The story was shared by the stranger on Twitter. It hows that humanity still exists and people aren't thinking only about themselves.
Recently, an 18-year-old girl suffered from a seizure while she was on the train. While most people are consumed by their own thoughts or just shut out from the world, there are people who still snap out of their selfish worlds to help others and expect nothing in return. Writer Erynn Brooks shared her experience of how a stranger helped an 18-year-old girl, who was about to have a seizure on the train. The story was shared in a series of tweets.
I’m waiting on kitty ultrasound results and trying to distract myself a little bit so I’d like to tell you a story about something that happened last night, in the hopes that I can process my feelings around it.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
I met a girl on the train last night.
I was on my way home after work. It’s about 10pm, and the subway is pulling up to my stop. I’ve been stressed about my own stuff for days now and I’m in my little bubble and just as I stand up the girl across from me starts talking.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
She’d been looking at me and I hadn’t really noticed. Her lips were barely moving, but I took out one earbud and said “pardon?” And she said “are you getting off soon?” And I said yes.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
The train was mostly empty. But then I noticed she was holding a laminated sheet of paper out.
At the top it said “my seizure plan”. I blinked at it then looked up at her. “Are you having a seizure now?” I asked.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
“No, but I’m about to.” She looked down at the monitor on her finger. “Can you sit with me until your stop?” She asked.
She mentioned her stop was 3 stops away. I asked if she would like me to ride with her to her stop. She said she didn’t want to bother me. I asked what she would do when I got off, she kinda shrugged and said “ask someone else. Maybe her? She looks nice. Can you ask her for me?”— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
Then she seized. She had already moved her purse out of the way and folded her scarf in a place to catch her head as she slumped over. I sat next to her and read her seizure plan.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
I check my phone and start timing her seizure. I sit down. My stop comes and goes.
This seizure plan paper is like an anchor. It says what to do, what not to do, how long seizures might last, what medication she takes if they last too long, what steps to take if she becomes non-responsive. She comes out after 3 minutes.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
After she was out of it, Erynn Brook did not just sit there for a few minutes, let her be, and move on with her own life. She understood that the girl could not be left alone, not at a time like this. Brook gave the 18-year-old the support she needed and even asked her if there was any medication she had on her, in order to follow the plan and made sure that the girl got home safe and unharmed. This is the kind of humanity the world needs. People need to be selfless in such times and help each other out, be there for each other even though we don't each other at all. It's about prioritizing someone's life over our desires and work when it really matters.
I tell her I’m just going to ride the subway with her to her stop, and if we miss it, don’t worry, I’ll sit with her until the end of the line if need be and we’ll just make the trip back together. She thanks me. I ask if she has her medication on her. She says she has one left.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
She mentions that she needs to get a prescription refill. I say prescription refills are so annoying. She nods a bit, tells me a little bit about how the monitor on her finger works, and seizes again. I go back to reading the seizure plan. I’ve already read it but it’s an anchor.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
It says she gets these seizures 1-4 times a day, and each episode lasts 10-60mins.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
Just think about that for a second. Think about being randomly completely vulnerable multiple times a day, and this is just... every day.
She comes out close to her stop. I ask her if she wants to get off. And she says “I’m just so tired, I want to go home.”— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
The worst thing I could’ve done to this girl in this moment was call emergency services. She’s so close to home. We get off at her stop and sit for a bit.
She places her folded scarf on the back of the chair and positions herself just so. She tells me “if it gets real bad I may have to lie down on the floor.” And seizes again. I put my stuff down and stand so I can catch her if she slips off the chair.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
I’m a big sister and a woman in the world. I’m either sitting with her until she’s completely ready to get up and walk away on her own or we’re gonna move together in shifts until she gets to her front door. There’s no way I’m leaving an 18 year old on a subway platform alone.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
She just needs to make it up the stairs. She says her condo is right outside the exit. Offer to walk her up the stairs, at least. She asks if I’m sure and says again that she doesn’t want to bother me. We go slow and chat. This is her first seizure today, but yesterday she had 2.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
We get to the barrier and I say. “I’d like to walk you to your building door if you’ll let me.” She protests again, but not much. I reassure her that I don’t want to come inside or anything, I’d just like to make sure she gets home safe and I’ll leave once she’s in the building.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
A few times she mentions how tired she is, and how close to home she is. Going up these stairs we keep an eye on her monitor. A train goes by and she covers her ears. Loud noises are a trigger for her. I ask if fluorescent lights are too, she nods. We make it out of the station.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
She tells me that one of her seizures yesterday happened at the gym. THE GYM! I don’t even go to the gym and I have way less barriers to either getting to or being at the gym than she does. This girl is just living her life with a laminated paper as her only defense.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
Erynn Brook spoke to the girl and made sure to make the 18-year-old feel as comfortable and safe as possible while she dropped her home. Once they reached the house, she waited until the girl got inside. The girl was very grateful for what Brook had done. Towards the end, they waved at each other saying goodbye and Brook left only when she thought it was safe to.
I have so many feelings. And they keep coming back to that scarf. That’s the image I see. How it was pre-folded before she even asked for help. How she positioned herself to fall on the scarf pillow again and again.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
She was fully prepared to go it alone. I didn’t help her, not really. My job was to make sure that no one interrupted her getting to her door. She was just trying to get home.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
It’s not a story about me being a good person. It’s not a story about how brave she is (though she clearly is), it’s a story about human needs, through the lens of disability, and how accessibility is not the same as acceptance or community care.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
We’re taught to call 911 when something looks bad and we don’t know what it is. And if I hadn’t heard her, if she didn’t have that laminated paper, maybe I would’ve done that when she started seizing.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
And this girl who’s just trying to go home because this is her daily life, would’ve been burdened with loud noises and fluorescent lights and maybe an ambulance trip further from her destination and a hospital bill and who knows what else, when she just needed to go home.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
Erynn Brook further spoke about how the girl has to deal with this on a regular basis. She has seizures almost as often as people "eat breakfast". She was amazed and awed by the girl's courage and her determination to live her life to the fullest, despite her condition. It really is something to admire, how the 18-year-old tries to (and succeeds in) being as independent as she can. Brook confessed that she felt that the girl was vulnerable that night because of her condition and the fact that she was all alone in public. She wondered how the girl managed to do this every single day and night with nothing but that laminated card to protect her.
[cn/tw: assault]— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
There is no policy or program structure that addresses the high rates of assault for disabled folks. Sexual violence, violent crimes, domestic violence, are all statistically more likely to happen to people with disabilities.https://t.co/xLbCttZsf5
I’m already pre-wired to go into big sister/soccer mom mode anywhere, any time, for anyone. If I had a bus I’d just be DD and make sure everyone got home from the bar okay. But... we don’t build our world that way. We build it this way.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
We built a world where an 18 year old who gets seizures 1-4 times a day, is taking the subway home, alone, and she folds her scarf into a pillow before asking a stranger to sit with her until the next stop. Not her own stop. Not to help her home. Just enough to not inconvenience.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
We built a world where I could hit an emergency alarm button and walk off at my stop, feeling like I just saved this girl’s life, who didn’t need saving, without losing a minute of my day, if I wanted to.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
We built a world for convenience, not community.
Don’t get me wrong, emergency services are great and we should use them when we need to. That’s not the point of this thread.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
The point is that scarf. That piece of paper, and the way she said “I’ll ask someone else when you leave. Maybe her? She looks nice.”
“She looks nice.”— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
It took maybe 30 minutes out of my day to make sure she got home. And she didn’t need me at all. She got there on her own.
I guess I looked nice too. But she didn’t want to ask too much. She didn’t want to ask me to stay with her an extra 3 stops.
Accommodation is the bare minimum. If I sat with her until my stop and then left, that’s what accommodation looks like.— Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook) April 4, 2019
It’s not good enough. Not for me, not for her, not for community and not for our world.
Build something better, folks. Build a better world. 💜
The girl was helped in the right way, in a very constructive and systematic way. Most people who are faced with such situations would pass the responsibility on to someone else or would have called emergency services. That is also because some people panic faster than others. A lot of people go blank and do not know what to do in such situations which is why they call up emergency services. The key is to stay calm and try and handle the situation. It is also about wanting to be there and help someone who you do not know at all. A lot of times, people just need someone to talk to or just be there with and for them. The story has taught people that all we need is humanity and kindness in order to change the world.
Although awareness, in general, has increased, most people are unaware of how to deal with a situation where someone has any kind of health issue episode in public. People rely on calling the emergency numbers which is a good way to go about things but it isn't always necessary. Sometimes just being there for the person and making sure they know that they are in safe hands helps. Most people with such conditions are used to dealing with it even when they are in public. They know how to go about it, making them feel comfortable and not panic, reassuring them that they are going to be okay helps them in a lot of ways. They start to deal with the condition the way they usually do, they even tell you how they would go about so you can help them through the process.
People need to be more aware of others and be ready to help instead of just watching and waiting for someone else to take the initiative. Imagine you were in such a situation and there was nobody around who came to your aid when you really needed it, how would you feel? Start thinking about more than just self and those we are close to or know. We say that humans are more evolved than any other creature on the planet. Other creatures look out for their own kind, why can't we?