Ethnic Relations

After two days of struggling with people, it was nice to go back to the simple jobs that are a joy to do, it's also nice to see a sense of community.
In this case it was a little old lady who had tripped over a wobbly pavement in one of our local markets. She was surrounded by people of all backgrounds – there was a black market warden who had put cones over the offending paving stones. A Bangladeshi man was chatting to her and two Greek looking men met me at the ambulance and led me to the patient. A Sikh stall keeper also pointed me in the direction of the patient.

The patient herself was one of the dying breed of 'traditional' English East Londoner. Normally an extremely healthy eighty year old, she had a graze to her nose that refused to stop oozing blood. A real pleasure to talk to, we chatted about how the East of London has changed in her lifetime – and how she still enjoyed living here.

“I'm an ethnic minority now”, she told me, “but there are still a lot of people around who'll help you out”.

And she was right – as an ambulance person I tend only to see the worst of people. I go to the assaults and the arguments. I hear about the murders and the abuse, the neglect and the trouble. Just as this woman was, for me, an unusual patient in that she was a healthy eighty year old, so it was that I saw the 'unusual' event of people helping someone in distress.

One of those jobs that leaves you with a smile on your face for the rest of the day.

8 thoughts on “Ethnic Relations”

  1. Actually I do have lights on my stick.Could be because I live in a fairly small town – we have commuters and people in a hurry but we also have people who are just out and about, maybe enjoying their lunchbreak or doing some shopping, and not in a huge rush (stereotypical outsider's view of London, sorry).

  2. I don't live in London, this is the middle of Yorkshire in a small town. I just have a tendency to raise my voice slightly in Miss Congeniality 2 style; “yep, no way you could have seen a woman with a walking stick huh?”And then I let my mother clobber them. Very funny, but having been on the receiving end of that stick it don't half hurt!

  3. she's right. You only see it once it gets to the point where 999 has been dialled though.Maybe I should start my own blog and list every single time a stranger does something for me that they don't have to – holds a door, makes room on a seat, offers to help carry my drink in a cafe. It happens a lot. The state of humanity isn't as bad as I once thought it was.

    But then I wonder, would they be as helpful if I wasn't white, female, smiling (generally) and carrying my visible badge of the I'm Vulnerable Club, the walking stick?

  4. You sound like you get a nice group of people where you live Batsgirl! My mother is white, female and has a walking stick – yet still frequently gets barged into and knocked around. I've lost count of the number of times people have let a door go in her face, or knocked her handbag off her shoulder. It makes me angry, especially when she's leaning on the stick on one side and me on the other. She does keep suggesting that maybe she needs blue flashing lights and sirens, but I'm sure Tom would say that these get ignored frequently anyway.She has now found that the occasional *accidental* clout to the back of an ankle or achilles tendon with the stick tends to work. Completely accidental you understand……dreadfully sorry…..

  5. What a lovely sentiment, arent old people greatLiz & Baby Josh 10 months


  6. Good for her, and she's 'embraced ethnic relations' AND still kept her own identity.Good on ya Tom.


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