falling down the escalator…….. this afternoon

21 Sep

Heading down the Charles Street Metro escalator this afternoon I noticed a guy with a cane,neck brace, lack of balance and blind.    He was heading down the escalator behind me and frankly I thought at the end he would fly forward toward the hard concrete.  I was not in the mood after being drenched in the rain to deal with this but we must always watch our own humanity.  So I waited at the bottom of the escalator to make sure he was sturdy on his feet and asked him if he was ok.  Then I started to walk off but he was still communicating to me.  Nothing verbal, no sounds – yet he was communicating that he was in a dangerous position.

If I just left him he would most likely head toward the next set of escalators and suffer a bad fall.   He wanted to use the metro to cross to the other side and escape the rain.  I could have told him that it’s dangerous but he was not the type of person to project reason.  So, I had to communicate a message to him without listening to his feedback.  I told him that without a guide this was far too dangerous and that he would be going with me back up the escalator.  This was classic one-way communication.

As we started up the escalator he decided to give me a commuication challenge via body language.   He leaned back and dared me to catch him – I was not totally successful but did manage to get him back on his feet with my arm tightly around his shoulder and told him with direct language don’t do that again.  As we got back to the top of the stairs and away from the metro I told him to go straight and use his cane to feel his steps.  I watched him briefly before I departed.

There are times when communication must be direct and democracy in decision making terminated.  When we see and can hear the screams for help and assistance we must communicate action and responsibility.  There isn’t time to discuss the merits of a decision – it is action that forges safety and progress.  In this situation I nullified this individuals own free- will and silenced his verbal debate for the greater good.    How can this type of communication be applied in your life?

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