But I do. And it was one of those all-too-rare moments when a group of complete strangers suddenly works together to help someone in need.
A torrential summer storm in the Slovak Tatra Mountains brought together 10 random people, crammed into the entranceway of a construction site. As the rain pelted down and the wind blew, one person looked out and saw an elderly man staggering along the pathway below – completely disorientated by the storm surrounding him – and brought him back to our little shelter.
Then someone noticed that the man was more than completely drenched, he was also shivering uncontrollably. And, the old man was not very coherent about how he planned to get back to his hotel or if he had any travelling companions. It was a perfect recipe for catching pneumonia.
Suddenly, the focus shifted from simply waiting out the storm to meeting a need. Two women removed his soaked shirt and dried him with tissues. So I peeled off my (dry) Avira t-shirt and handed it to them. They quickly dressed him in it, and a hip flask was passed around, providing shots of an herbal liquor to warm us up.
As the rain continued to pelt down, we had a discussion over what to do next. The mountain rescue team was called, but they didn’t think the situation was serious. We thought about calling the police, because they would pick up anyone – besides, a jail would at least be dry. What should be done next with our wet bundle of humanity?
As the storm faded, one couple went to another hotel where they found a DHL truck. The delivery man was pressed into service and came picked up the old man with the promise of delivering him directly to his hotel. My family completed our walk around Sterbske Pleso, and I happily put on another shirt after returning to the car.
Literally, I gave him the (Avira) shirt off my back. But practically, it was a much less important action than one guy earlier noticing the problem and going out in the rain to bring the old man in. And that is where the story ends – maybe. Because maybe the old man is still wondering how he came out of a summer rainstorm wearing a black t-shirt with the Avira umbrella logo.
This post is also available in: German