I want to tell you about something that happened on our trip that I haven't shared yet.
I wasn't going to, but I feel like perhaps there's been enough time and distance now, and I think it's a sort of important story to tell.
So at one point on our trip (I'm not going to share where or when, lets just say somewhere in Australia, some time in the last 3 years 😉) I happened to be driving on a road through some farmland when I saw a person standing on the side of the road. Now we were not quite in the middle of nowhere, but it was a decent distance enough from the nearest town, or even the nearest houses, so my brain instantly said to me that there shouldn't be a person there, on their own, without a vehicle. From a distance at first glace I even thought it was a child, so as we drove past (we were doing 100km/hr so it all happened very quickly) I tried to get a closer look. As I did so, another car passed going the other way, and kept driving.
I was pretty shocked to see the person was actually a young woman, and not only was she alone, and hitchhiking, but she was visibly distressed, crying, limping, with torn clothes and scratches/dried blood to her hands and face. I was also pretty shocked the other car had kept driving.
I instantly put the brakes on and turned the car around. We pulled over and she came limping towards us, visibly relieved. Now obviously I wanted to help this women, but I was also aware that I had no idea who she was, or what circumstances led her to be in this situation, so I was understandably a little wary. I initially didn't get out, and wound down my window to ask some questions. But she was so clearly genuinely distressed, and it was blowing a gale, making communication difficult.
I quickly realised I needed to just get her in the car & drive back to the nearest town. But the back seat of our car was literally covered in so much crap (such tidy travellers we are!) that I pretty much had to shove everything into the middle making a giant wall of back seat junk between this ladies seat and the kid. In fact I'm not even sure she realised we had a kid in the car!
Nathan took over the driving, I gave her food, water & a phone charger (her phone & clothes were the only things she had, and the phone battery was dead flat), and started to hear her story (with some difficulty due to her distress) as we drove back the way we had come. We then dropped her in at the hospital, stopped in at the Police Station, and continued on our journey, thinking that this was without a doubt one of the more bizzare days we've had on the road.
Now I'm not going to tell you her story, because it's not my story to tell. The reason I'm sharing my part of it is this: I asked that girl how long she'd been on that road. The answer? Hours. I asked her how many cars had passed her in that state? Dozens. And that is what saddens me the most about this story. We all know there are assholes out there that will willingly do another person harm. But I like to think that most people are good people, who would stop and help another person in need.
But so many people just didn't.
And I understand that people are scared, that they don't want to get involved, or put themselves at risk. And I understand it's an inconvenience (I'm not gunna lie, I didn't love driving in the wrong direction and putting ourselves a few hours behind schedule - not to mention the difficult conversation I had to have with my 5yo to try and explain the inexplicable). But in that situation couldn't you at least call the police and asked them to come and assist?
Personally for me, I could not physically continue to drive past a person in that state and not help. Because one day that person could be me, or any one of us.
And I really hope someone else would do the same for me.