You may have heard of Simon Mayo’s confessions on his drivetime Radio 2 show? Well here is a confession of my own….
I am seeking forgiveness from any who read this for my father and myself for the events that took place around 20 years ago when living in a small town north of Manchester.
If I can take you back to a bright Saturday morning in the late 80’s. My father roped me in to helping wash the family car and this we did until we finally buffed and shined the metalwork until we could see our faces reflected in the paintwork.
Once this task was complete and whilst we were standing back admiring our handywork we noticed a middle aged lady swaying and swerving along the pavement. She carried two carrier bags of shopping, however, it was apparent from her gait that she was inebriated. Unusual for a Saturday lunchtime but, I guess, not unheard of.
As she approached us she began to speak, however, due to her slurred speech (confirming our suspicions that she had recently imbibed copious amounts of alcohol) it was impossible to understand what she was saying.
She shuffled between my father and I and the newly valeted car and then proceed to rest her bottom on the bonnet banging the front of the car as she did so with the carrier bags full of shopping. She continued trying to speak but the words would not come out in any intelligible way.
My father “encouraged” her to get off the car and proceeded to take her by the elbow and lead her away from the vehicle suggesting that she go home and get herself sobered up. In her final attempts to make us understand she was clearly becoming emotional. My father repeated his advice that home was the best place for her to go.
With this she turned and head down, shambled her way away from us. Beyond our house were open fields at the end of which there was an estate of houses.
We watched her make her way down the road from our house. After around 400 yards she finally gave up, put her bags down and sat on the kerbside with her head in her hands.
My father and I went in side shaking our heads. What a shame that such a respectable looking woman had let herself get into such a state on a Saturday afternoon, we agreed.
It wasn’t until around a week later that the reality of what we had witnessed came stomach churningly to light.
I was thumbing through the local paper when I noticed, in a small article buried on page 8 or 9, the photograph of a woman I recognised was smiling back at me. I wonder why I know her I thought. When I read the article it became horrifyingly apparent.
The article related the tale of a woman in her mid 40’s who, upon walking home from the bus stop following a visit to a local supermarket had suddenly started going into Diabetic shock. Aware that she needed to get home for her medication she tried to get as far as possible to her house. Unable to get any further she was eventually found by a passing motorist slumped at the side of the road. He raised the alarm and an ambulance was soon whisking her off to hospital in order that she could receive life saving treatment.
She thanked the passer by for calling the emergency services an act which clearly saved her life.
I occasionally saw the woman walking past and she always smiled and said hello. She clearly remembers nothing of our encounter for which I was always relieved.
I am therefore seeking forgiveness for the ignorance of my father and I to the lady’s plight and for not appreciating that we were faced with someone in a life threatening situation and we did nothing about it. In hindsight it should have been obvious that all the signs were there to suggest that there was something wrong with this woman and the likelihood that she had been drunk seemed remote.
Please be gentle with any comments………