Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hannah's Version of The Good Samaritan

Last week, we rewrote the Parable of the Good Samaritan in class. Some students did an OK job and some gave an exceptional effort. Hannah, a junior, far surpassed anyone else. Here is her story.
David was having a terrible day. In fact, it was one of the worst days of his freshman year. His alarm didn’t go off so he was late to school, then he found out he left his Algebra homework at home, and on top of that, he failed his pop quiz in Biology. But just when he thought his day couldn’t get any worse, his arch-nemesis and bully, Tommy, started harassing him in the hallway on his way to eighth period and made him late to English. Overall, it was just a bad day. When the dismissal bell rang, David booked it out the front doors, hopped on his red bike, and started pedaling home as fast as he could. He put in his headphones and tuned out the noises of the street, hoping to avoid any unwanted confrontations with school bullies. Once he was a few blocks away from school, he let himself relax and slowed down to a cruising speed. He was nearly home, and only had to make a few more turns to get to his neighborhood. He started to speed up a little because he was anxious to get home, and since he knew the route like the back of his hand, he looked down for a minute to change the song playing through his headphones. Suddenly out of nowhere, the front wheel of his bike hit a pothole, jerking it sideways and hurtling David off, sending him flying off the side of the road into a ditch. He rolled down the steep slope, hitting his head on a large rock and was knocked unconscious. Finally, his body came to a halt at the very bottom, covered in scrapes and dirt.

The entire ordeal lasted about 20 seconds, and across the street, a girl walking her dog saw the whole thing happen but did not stop to help because she had to hurry and get home before her favorite show came on. Ten minutes later, one of David’s classmates in Algebra walked past and saw David, but he had too much homework to do that night and could not afford to waste any time getting home to start on it. Finally, about 20 minutes after the crash, none other than Tommy came walking down the street. He was on his way to his girlfriend’s house to hang out and watch a movie, and was actually walking on the opposite side of the street from where David’s bike was lying in a heap on the grass. In fact, it was the bike that caught his attention. The bright red bike was lying on its side on the side of the road, with no owner in sight. Hurriedly, Tommy crossed the street and came closer to inspect it, making sure it was in good condition while still looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was around. After checking it out and seeing it still worked perfectly, he got on and was just about to leave when he heard a noise like a loud groan. He snapped up his head and looked around, but saw no one. He shook his head and turned back to the road, when he heard it again. It was much softer this time and came from the direction of the ditch behind him. He got off the bike and walked over to the edge of the ditch, peering cautiously down to the bottom in search of whatever was making the strange noise. To his surprise, there was a boy lying at the bottom, covered in scratches with what looked like a deep cut on the back of his head- as there was some blood stains on the grass beneath him- and a painfully twisted arm. He paused and took a moment to take in the scene below him, debating on whether or not to help him. He decided he didn’t need to do anything because the next person could always help and probably do a better job than him, anyways. Besides, he thought, whoever was down there might snitch on him for taking the bike. Without a second thought, Tommy got back on the bike and set off pedaling down the street to his girlfriend’s house.

A few blocks down, Tommy passed a CVS, and parked the bike to go in and grab some snacks for the movie. He found what he needed and got in line to check out, and just as he was about to get to the register, he noticed some bandages on the shelf directly across from him. He stood and looked at the bandages, then back to the snacks in his hand, and then back to the bandages, finally coming to a decision. Ten minutes later, Tommy found himself riding back down the street, bandages and water in hand to go help the boy in the bottom of the ditch. He arrived at the spot where he found the boy, getting off the bike to begin the slow trek down the grassy slope of the ditch. Reaching the bottom, he took a small jump off the slope to where the injured boy was and set out gently cleaning his scrapes and wiping off dirt. He had been sprawled out on his back with his left arm bent at an awkward angle, and when Tommy tenderly tried to roll him over to see the cut on the back of his head, he saw how badly it had been bleeding and realized he should have stopped the first time to help. The boy let out a groan and Tommy started, nearly dropping him and letting him flop onto his back, but thankfully stopped himself and was able to slowly place him back on the ground. The boy’s eyes fluttered open and rolled around, trying to come into focus. It was in this moment Tommy realized the boy he had been helping was David, the kid he bullied every day at school. Embarrassed, Tommy stood and righted himself, walking over to the dirty bandages on the ground as David came back to reality. With a cough and a groan, his eyes now fully opened, David took in his surroundings. His eyes came to rest on Tommy, who was staring at the ground awkwardly and fidgeting with the bandages. For a moment his muscles tensed up, prepared to run, but realized the situation he was in and relaxed back onto the ground, defeated. Now that he was conscious, all the pain from his beaten body flooded his senses, making him grit his teeth and shut his eyes tightly. Finally, in terrible pain and annoyed with Tommy’s presence, he said through his gritted teeth, “Why?” At this, Tommy jerked up his head and looked at David, who he could now see was in very much pain. “What’d you say?” he asked. David repeated himself, “Why?”
“Why what?”
“Why’d you do it?”
“What do you mean?”
Indignant, David snapped back, “Why did you help me? You bully me every day in the halls at school and you have never said a nice thing to me in your entire life. So why would you start now?”
Tommy stood, still staring hard at the ground and wishing the earth would open right then and there to swallow him up and get him out of this thoroughly embarrassing situation. After a moment he said quietly, “You looked like you needed help.”
Patiently, David waited for the rest of his explanation, but Tommy didn’t say anything else. The silence between them seemed to stretch on for eternity, until finally David blinked and said, “Okay, obviously...But WHY?” Just as frustrated as David, Tommy bent over and started aggressively picking up the leftover bandages. He took a deep breath and plunged forward, “Look, I’m sorry okay? I’m sorry for all the stuff I did to you, and when I saw you lying here I honestly didn’t even want to help. The whole reason I’m here in the first place is because I was going to take your bike when I didn’t see anyone around.”
Wincing, David asked, “So what changed your mind?”
“I don’t know! Okay? I don’t know. I just did.” Exasperated, Tommy tossed the bandages in a pile at David’s feet. “I tried to leave and forget about it, but I came back to help you anyways. I couldn’t just leave you here. Is that such a crime?”
Taken aback by this reaction, David paused. “I...I guess not.” Tommy looked up. He had to say something before there were any more awkward pauses. “Well, do you want my help or not?” By now, David had already begun to sweat, and his hair was clinging to his forehead. “I...okay. Okay.” Letting out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding in, Tommy said, “Alright, then let’s get you on your feet and to the emergency room or something.” He reached down to grab David’s hand, but when David tried to lift his arm he nearly passed out from the pain that shot through his shoulder and down his arm. “Whoa, hold on. I got you.” Tommy lowered himself into a squat and put his arms under David’s body, picking him up gently. “Your arm doesn’t look too good,” Tommy stated. “Yeah, well, it doesn’t exactly feel too good, either,” David winced. He had started to feel dizzy and everything was getting blurry. Tommy made his way up the steep slope to the top of the ditch, winded by the time he made it to the bike. When he turned around so David could see where he had landed, his eyes widened and said with a subtle note of panic in his voice, “We have to get you to the emergency room, now.” “Wait, what-” David stopped mid-sentence when he saw what Tommy meant. It took him a few seconds to process what he was seeing, but then he saw the spot where his head had been lying, and it was painted red with his blood. That’s when Tommy noticed the trail of blood leading from the bottom to the top, ending where he stood with David in his arms. Tommy felt David’s body tremble, and alarmingly he told David, “The gash on the back of your head- it reopened. It must be deeper than I thought.” When David didn’t reply, Tommy looked down to see David’s face drained of color and his eyelids fluttering, fighting to stay open. “David! Hey! Come on, David, wake up!” With no response, Tommy set him down as quickly but as gently as possible. He belatedly realized his clothes were covered in blood as he sprinted to David’s backpack where it had been flung a few yards away and frantically started digging through the pockets. “Come on, come on…” He went through all the pockets but he couldn’t find what he was looking for. “Where is it?!” he yelled. He whipped his head back around, scrutinizing the grass, and realization dawned across his face. He ran back to David and started going through his pockets. Finally, he found David’s phone. He dialed 911, nearly dropping the phone because of how badly his hands were shaking. After two rings, the operator answered, and Tommy let all his words spill out in a rush. “Ineedhelpmyfriendishurtandbleedingreallybadlyfromacutinhisheadcanyoupleasesendanambulancetocomegethim?”
The operator paused, then said, “Okay, what is your address?”
Tommy turned his head around and found the street sign and told her. Then she said, “Alright, an ambulance is on the way. Sit tight.”

Tommy’s adrenaline was going and he felt completely helpless as he looked over at the shallow rise and fall of David’s chest as he lay on the ground unconscious. The bleeding had slowed, but it was still flowing. He snatched up some bandages and precariously placed them under David’s head. Then he picked up David’s phone again and started searching through his contacts. “Here it is,” he said to himself as he pressed on David’s mother’s number. He held the phone to his ear and listened to the ring. It rang...and rang...and rang...until finally the voicemail came up. He quickly hung up and tried again, only to get the same results. “Are you kidding me?” he said. He was about to try the home phone, when the phone started vibrating and David’s mother’s contact came up on the screen. Tommy pressed answer and just started talking. “Hi, my name is Tommy and I’m a friend of David’s, I’m with your son right now. He’s hurt and has lost a lot of blood. The ambulance is on their way and they’re going to take him to the hospital.” He waited for a response, then after a moment, David’s mother spoke, bombarding Tommy with questions, her voice rising an octave every other question. “What?! Is he okay? What happened? Where are you? How did he hit his head? When did this happen? Why wasn’t I notified sooner?” Tommy blinked a few times and pulled the phone away from his ear before he went deaf. Then he said, “It was about an hour ago, he crashed his bike and hit his head. Can you just meet us at the hospital?”
“Yes, yes of course. I’m getting in the car now,” she said in a calmer voice.
“Okay,” Tommy said, nodding.
“Keep me updated. Text me every two minutes. Call me when you get to the hospital or if anything changes.”
“Yes ma’am, I will,” he said and hung up. At that moment he heard the sirens and saw the ambulance coming down the street. He leaped to his feet and started waving his arms to get their attention. “Over here!” he yelled. The ambulance came to a screeching halt in front of him and the paramedics jumped out. “He’s right here…”

From there, everything became a blur. The paramedics picked David up and put him on a stretcher as they asked Tommy questions about what happened and what he did. He rode with them in the ambulance as they were checking vitals on David, and he made sure to text David’s mother to keep her updated. They arrived at the hospital and Tommy followed them in, meeting David’s mother at the door. He stood to the side as they rushed David to one of the rooms, and once they were gone, he flopped down in one of the seats in the waiting area. He tried to stay awake by flipping through magazines or watching the TV, but soon his exhaustion caught up with him and his head began to sink as he drifted off into sleep. A few hours later, he was woken up by a gentle tapping on his shoulder. He opened his groggy eyes and looked to find the source of the tapping. A nurse who had seen Tommy come in with David politely asked him if he would like to see him, and he nodded, standing up and following her down the hall. When they reached the room, she left him and he knocked twice before walking in. There were two chairs and a small table, with one chair next to the hospital bed and the other in the corner with the table. David was lying in the bed with a bandage wrapped around his head, looking much cleaner and slightly better, but still very pale and tired. “Hey,” Tommy said as he sat down in the chair by the bed. “How you feelin’?” David replied, “I’ve been better. I don’t remember much after you carried me out of the ditch, but my mom told me you said I passed out and an ambulance came and brought us to the hospital.” Tommy nodded, looking around. “Yeah, that did happen. Speaking of which, where’d your mom go?” “Oh, she went to go to the bathroom and to get something to eat.”
“Oh, okay.”
“Yeah. Hey, your clothes are still kinda dirty…” David said, seeing the dried blood stains on Tommy’s shirt and jeans.
“Oh man, you’re right,” he said, looking down and seeing how dirty he was for what seemed like the first time.
David paused for a moment, then said, “I’m sorry I caused you so much trouble.” Puzzled, Tommy asked, “Why? It’s not your fault I wanted to help.”
“Well, yeah, but I passed out and you had to call an ambulance, and got blood all over you.”
“Well...never mind.”
Tommy chuckled. “Alright then. What did the doctors say about your head and your arm?”
“Oh, they said I had a dislocated shoulder and a few cracked ribs, but they also said I had a slight skull fracture, and the deep gash on my head where all the blood came from needed thirteen stitches.” Hearing this, Tommy let out a low whistle. “You had a skull fracture and thirteen stitches? That’s crazy.” David smiled. “Yeah, I know. I’m going to be stuck here a few more days at least, but I’m just glad to be alive.” “Me too,” Tommy replied. Just then, a deep silence came over the two boys, and it lasted for about a minute before Tommy spoke again. “David, I’m really sorry. For everything. All the bullying and name-calling- all of it. I can’t believe how rude I was to you.” David lay with a look of contemplation on his face. Finally he spoke. “Tommy, even though you might have done some pretty bad stuff to me, I’m glad you were there to help me.” Tommy became flustered and started to speak, “I mean, the only reason I was even there in the first place was because-” David cut him off. “I know, the bike. I just wanted to say thank you. And I forgive you. For all the things you did.”

Shocked by this turn in conversation, Tommy sat with his mouth open, unsure of how to respond. “I...don’t know what to say.” David kept going. “I may have hated you for every second, but I don’t anymore. Despite what everyone else may think or say, you’re not a bad person.” Hearing those words hit Tommy square in the chest, and for a moment his eyes began to water, but he quickly composed himself as David’s mother knocked on the door and walked back into the room holding a small tray. She set the tray down on the table and smiled. “Hey boys, I just came from the cafe, and I got a few snacks in case you were hungry!” The boys said thank you, and she turned to her son.
“David, how are you feeling?”
“I’m better, Mom. Thanks.”
“I’m so glad to hear it. Do you need anything else?”
“No, I’m okay. Tommy?” Tommy shook his head. “No, thank you.”
“Alright, well let me know if you need anything. I’m going to go back downstairs to the cafe.”
“Thanks. Hey, Mom?” David said as she turned to walk out of the room, “Do you think Tommy could come over sometime this week and hang out?” She smiled. “Of course! Tommy, you are welcome to come over any time.” Tommy grinned and replied, “Thank you. I’m sure that will be often, as soon as David is healed and back home again.” “Wonderful,” she replied. “See you boys in a bit!” And with that, she left the two boys to talk and enjoy each other’s company for the start of what would come to be a long and treasured friendship.

God bless, Steve Luke 18:1
www.hawleybooks.com E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

No comments: