Do you help strangers in need?


Apr 30, 2006
Earlier this week, I pulled into the parking lot at my local supermarket. At the spot right next to mine was a middle aged man standing in front of his car, talking on his cell phone with the car's hood up. Seemed obvious to me he was having car trouble. I asked him if he needed help, a boost or anything, he eagerly said yes, told the people on the phone (AAA) that a good samaratin finally showed up and that he wouldn't be needing them any longer.

It turned out his battery was dead and all he needed was a jump to get it going-he had his own cables and knew how to use them and it only took 5 minutes out of my life (got back in my car, backed it up-popped my hood, pumped the gas a few times) to help him out. He said that I was the first person to pull into that lot to ask him if he needed help-he even said he had asked 2 people if they would give him a jump and the answer was "no", or "I am too busy". He was very nice and very thankful.

Now, I have had this happen to me. Once years ago when my youngest was a baby, my car died on a major avenue right in my neighborhood. I stood next to it with the hood up and the cables in my hand for almost a half an hour asking tons of people who were driving by if they could just stop and give me a boost, I even pointed out my baby in the back seat-the answer was no every time. After a half hour (I was waiting for AAA), a man finally stopped and helped me-he couldn't believe I had been standing out there so long and that no one else would help!

I just don't get it-is it NY'ers only or does this happen in the rest of the world? Are we all so wrapped up in our lives that we are too busy or self centered to help fellow human beings? Do you stop and help if you can?


✯ mathemagician ✯
Nov 4, 2006
I cannot believe it takes so long to find somebody that would help! That makes me a little sad.

I do think that a lot of the people driving by would not stop thinking "Everyone carries a cell phone these days and I can't even help her/him probably." But it's horrible that so many people just flat out refuse to help when asked.

I am not going to say it doesn't happen anywhere else, but it has never happened to me.


where's my bag?!
Apr 25, 2006
It happens. Alot of people don't want to bother, it's that straphanger mentality. I don't look at you, you don't look at me. We all find a safe point, like the poster that's overhead on the train.

I remember when I was young (healthy) -- suffering through a very emotional and chaotic period in life. I could barely stand up on my long train commute to work. Someone older got up and made sure I sat down on that seat. I will never forget their kind act. There are good people out there. I've been guided through life by alot of compassionate kind souls.

I help strangers in need. I don't expect anything in return, but it is great to see someone smile. Sometimes I make a friend, sometimes the person I've helped doesn't acknowledge or refuse the assistance. With the latter, I wonder if they are so wrapped up in their lives not to even notice there is something outside of themselves. This makes me not want to help sometimes...


May 9, 2006
OC, California
Yes, I help if it is something I can help with. I have never jump started a car and don’t have jumper cables so I am pretty clueless about that. I don’t know how to change a tire either. Definitely something probably everyone should know.

My DH and I go to Glamis a lot to dirt bike ride (every other weekend during the winter months) and we always help pull people out of the sand. It’s the sand dunes and a lot of people in cars/trucks/RV’s get completely stuck. MY DH drives a Ford 350 which can tow a lot. Probably every weekend we are out there we stop to help someone get out of the sand. They usually have been waiting for hours and hundreds of people have passed them by. AAA won’t even get you out of the sand. They refuse.


Jan 12, 2006
yes, absolutely so long as my safety isn't compromised.
For example, I'd have definitely helped the man you helped, but possibly not if it was on a quiet street in the dark. . . .
Growing up, my dad stopped to help everyone broken down on the side of the road and it definitely made an impression on me.
He can fix any car so he'd always stop to see if there was something he could fix quickly and if not he'd tell them what they needed to do to get running again.
I really depends on the situation. I give up my seat on the train & bus all the time (like 2/3 a week), hold elevators, give spare change... BUT I am a scaredy-cat when it comes to carside assitance! It's not that I don't think I can't help, I'm just afraid to get kidnapped, raped, or killed! I guess watching/reading the news has crippled my generousity because hearing about all these missing people cases lately has me on high alert (maybe too high).


Apr 30, 2006
Well-I totally understand if it seems like a dangerous situation and being afraid of a hoax or of being grabbed or molested. But, in situations where that is obviously not the case (my two examples above), those are the times that I find it sad.

And, Swanky, yeah, my dad always stopped to help too-it made a definite impression in my brain. he always would say "hey, that's someone's son, daughter, mother, wife, etc. out there. how can I not help?"

dusty paws

Sep 20, 2006
East Bay, CA
Yesterday on the commute home I was on a packed train. I managed to get a pulldown seat, but was half standing on it since there was no room. An older couple got on and I could tell they were tourists, but there were so many people in between us that I couldn't see them. Finally after a stop or two the crowd thinned and I was able to give her my seat - the lady looked horrible, I thought she was going to pass out - I almost called the train conductor. I couldn't believe that no one else on the train even asked her if she wanted to sit down.

I hold doors, elevators, take pity on the poor homeless people and have bought them food before.

The only thing I haven't done is stopped to help someone on the side of the road. I would be more inclined to do it if it was still light out and in a well trafficked area.


Jul 1, 2007
Toronto Canada
This is something I have thought alot about lately, becuase it seems it is harder to find people that will help. Yes, I will help someone if I can. I myself have been helped by complete strangers before and I would feel horrible if I did not respond the same way. I would not stop on the side of the road for a stalled car though, but I would call on my cell phone for help. I agree it makes me sad that our city has come to the point where people are scared or too busy to help someone in need.


Feb 10, 2007
Unfortunately, I don't trust anyone anymore and am afraid to help if it is direct contact.

Once a guy that looked schrizophrenic jump in front of my face in my garden and begging me to call 911 so I went into the house to call and he disappeared. So I called back 911 to tell them he disappeared but the ambulance came anyways and found him down the street. I don't mind helping in that way.


Feb 14, 2007
New Orleans, LA
Unfortunately there are a lot of people who try to appear to be a stranger in need to either scam you for money or do much worse, so that's made me leary of even trying to help. When I lived in FL there was a guy who would act like his car was out of gas and he needed money. Seemed totally legit when my friend gave him $10. But then she saw him again doing the same damn thing! She rolled down her window and yelled "It's a scam!" It turned out I had the same guy come up to me and try it too. So I have to be really sure that I am not in danger or it's not a scam to help. But I have called highway patrol when I've seen people though that need help.

I did have my car run out of gas on the side of an expressway once on the way home from work. I called my brother to come get me but he was pretty far away. When it started to get dark I started walking because no way did I want to be on the side of the Earhart Expressway after dark by myself. It smelled like a dead body and there were all these trees that I kept picturing people dump bodies in.

So I start walking down the side of the expressway. I'm a petite, young female, dressed nice carrying a LV bag, obviously not just some crazy person who came out of the woods and decided to walk down the side of the expressway. NOBODY walks there! I had people drive by and just look at me. I even had a BMW drive by and just honk the damn horn! Finally a cab stopped and offered me a ride for free. It was so sweet I wanted to cry.


Prima Donna Assoluta
Oct 15, 2006
Monterrey, Mexico
I try to help while being careful. Pretty much the usual stuff; helping people pick up their stuff, hold doors open, point out directions, etc. As long as I'm able to do something for them, and isn't a risky situation, I'll try and help.
Apr 25, 2007
San Antonio
I've helped probably about 5 people with the jumper cables in the last year. It has always been during the day, usually in the grocery store or mall parking lot, and once at school. Always lots of people around and I never felt unsafe. It was actually women all those times(I know, they can kidnap and scam you too). It was always a person right next to my car and I couldn't just leave them there when I could easily help. One lady didn't have a cell phone and I let her use mine. I always try to be helpful and I carry jumper cables in my car, and I've used them to help other people. I would want people to help me if I needed it.

I would never help someone at night though..just too risky for me.

I forgot to add that someone really helped me before and it freaked me out at first because it was a stranger. I was walking out of the mall with my 2 little girls and I carrying one in her carseat carrier thing(they had just had their pictures taken) My toddler was being difficult and wouldn't hold on to my hand and started to run off.. I was freaking out inside.. I had my baby in that HEAVY carseat and I couldn't run fast enough to get her. I couldn't put my baby down so I could catch up to her. This lady grabbed Sophia to keep her from running into the street around the mall. She helped me get her to my car, I couldn't thank her enough. I never carried my baby in that stupid carseat again! We always use the stroller now!


Aug 23, 2007
Blue State
I try to help while being careful. Pretty much the usual stuff; helping people pick up their stuff, hold doors open, point out directions, etc. As long as I'm able to do something for them, and isn't a risky situation, I'll try and help.
Pretty much the same for me. Before I became a Mom I did more. Now, I usually don't have a free hand and don't want to expose my kid to any possible risky situations.


Ma to the d@mn D-E-A
Jan 27, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
It sucks that people are so self absorbed that they cant even take 10-20 minutes out of their day to help someone in need. Karma is a ***** I tell ya! And sometimes...for the caring people, Karma is great! lol.
But, to answer the question, yes!!! I would help someone in a heartbeat. I always go by..."Treat other how you want to be treated". If I were in the same situation, would I want someone to stop and help me? If the answer is yes..then I will stop and help. The only thing I DONT do(if Im by myself, anyway) is actually stop my car for someone on the side of the road. IMO thats much more risky than helping someone in a parking lot, or something similar.