News has been rather depressing as of late, wouldn’t you agree? The Syria conflict has been making headlines day-in, day-out, along with a slew of other stories concerning various deaths. Also, as I understand it, ‘The X-Factor’ is back on – so if there’s ever a time to avoid tabloids like the plague it’s probably around now.
But then, there are other news stories. Stories that are on a relatively low scale compared to the headliners and concern only a few people who live their everyday lives, do their job, and occasionally get into situations where they have to put themselves at risk for the good of another one of their fellow creatures. They do this and get penalised for it, hard.Recently, a 70 year old disabled woman was placed in mortal danger when her wheelchair slid onto a train track, I believe it was around Southend Central station. A customer service assistant named Alan Chittock happened to be on the platform at the time, with a train due in mere minutes he saw the incident and jumped onto the track with three other people to help the woman get back onto the platform. Nobody was hurt, the woman was treated for minor injuries from the fall, but nobody died. These 4 people should be hailed as exemplary, commendable citizens for this action.
Sadly, there are 3 repulsive words which might just cost Alan his job.
“Health and safety.”
I was, quite frankly, astounded when I read that Mr Chittock could face ‘disciplinary action’ for not following “the correct safety procedures”. No sane person would say that in this situation. What exactly is the “correct safety procedure” for saving an elderly disabled person from an oncoming train? With mere minutes before it arrived, did they honestly think that there was time for Mr Chittock to… what, exactly? Ring up and say that the train needs to be stopped while an injured disabled woman is stuck on the tracks facing a very real possibility of death?
No. I would personally commend Mr Chittock for doing what any decent, forward-thinking person would have done in that situation.
Oh, but the general asininity doesn’t end there! Some of the comments I’ve seen against Mr Chittock’s actions have brought me nothing but despair for humanity knowing that these people will or have possibly passed on their genes to the next generation. Somebody claimed that the member of staff put the people who were on the train in danger… Answer me something: when have you ever seen or heard of a train coming off second best after hitting a person?
Do we truly live in such a litigious society that the main concerns of the company to which Mr Chittock was employed are their policies when a human life is in danger? This was a completely moral and altruistic act which should be commended by the company, not condemned. “Oh, why did he have to contravene our health and safety standards? Why didn’t he just let her die?”
Pretty soon, I reckon we’ll be hearing about a new enforcement on firemen who can’t enter a burning structure because they might get burnt.
Ask yourself this: What does one do when the use of common sense is overruled by the rules? You’re caught between this rock and a hard place. Are you going to do what you deem to be morally right at the time or let the rules govern you with the extremely likely outcome of death?
If one is sanctioned for saving a life, I don’t think it’s too bold of me to say that the rules, the ‘standards’ of the company, need a bit of a looking at.