A tuthree months ago I wrote about my RTA NDE. Although whacked off my bike by a (small) car, I was in a fitter state to do useful things than the poor woman who had done the whacking. When that sort of thing happens there is a tremendous racket: hastily applied brakes, the sound of crushing metal, maybe a cry of warning or alarm or pain. But as the noise subsides, people who have stuck their heads out of windows for a better view or paused to gawp at the novelty, they carry on with whatever they were doing before.
As the poor perp and myself sat on the stoop opposite her slightly dinged car, my friend and colleague Dan came out of the office, crossed the street and asked if he could do anything for us. The woman, who was clearly stressed, said she’d like something to drink and as Dan turned to the shop to buy some first-aid she called after him “Diet coke, please”. When he returned, I noticed that my sock was all wet and investigation revealed that a chip that the bumper had taken out of my shin was now bleeding a frshet down my leg. After the exchange of addresses, Dan took me off to the TCD infirmary and, after a short triage there, up to St James’s Hospital Accident & Emergency in his car.
When we arrived, I got out of Dan’s car, said thanks (this had already taken a big chunk out of his day), hirpled inside and reported myself. I had barely sat down when Dan returned with an Irish Times and a Mars bar, saying that I might be some time a’waiting. People go to A&E injured or in pain and certainly distressed, but they hope, and naively expect, that their emergency will receive prompt attention. Dan knew that was unlikely in my case and provided the bare-poles essentials to make an indefinite wait tolerable. It takes someone who is street-savvy, intelligent and kind to put that all together and do the right thing. In the Venn diagram of life, that is close to the null set. Hats off.
Over the next nearly five hours, I fell in with a group of “bad boys and girls at the back” who were not critical. One chap, for example, had a neat C etched in his forehead from where he’d walked into the end of a scaffolding pole. As the backlog got processed, we felt we were getting to closer to treatment. But then another coronary would (bee-bah bee-bah) come in by ambulance and we knew we had slithered back a couple of notches. Eventually my name was called, and I sprang to my feet with a little cry of triumph – and promptly stretched out on the floor. My left ankle which had sustained some torque through having the opposite knee moved rapidly backwards in contact with half a ton of metal, but which had carried me into hospital, was now seized entirely. So the ever-solicitous and really efficient nurses removed my trousers, put me in a wheel-chair and propelled me to see the doctor, off to X-ray, back to the doctor and round the houses until they’d finished with me. Hat’s off to them all.
The homily: when we see an indigent drunk fall over in front of us or a small child being biffed, most of us will walk on by assuming that somebody else will sort it out. Dan didn’t, don’t you. Random act of Canadian kindness 50,000 views in August, 720,000 now - going viral.
 The ankle was only sprained. As well as the chip out my shin, there was (how did that happen?) a chip out of my elbow; four of the bones in my wrist were broken from trying to punch out a wind-screen. Reasons to be cheerful!