“He Looked As If He Was Dying”

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Miriam Moriarty Owens writes:

I really need to share this and hope you all share it as well [about] what I had to witness yesterday [Thursday]. I was on the number 40 bus from Tralee to Cork to visit my sister [in hospital]. The bus stopped to pick up passengers in Ballyvourney en route. A few people got on. I did notice a very old man. He was carrying a bag. He really did not look well. I would say he was in his early 80s. He was the colour of, well, to but it bluntly, he looked as if he was dying. He sat two rows behind me. About 5 mins later he started to get very sick. What I had to witness and hear has really upset me. I am still very upset. The lynch mob – mostly women – started shouting, ‘get him off the bus’. There was no smell and a woman put newspapers down. He kept saying he was sorry. I was upset for him. But some of the passengers just would not stop [saying] ‘Driver get him off the bus’.

Then the bus stopped in Macroom to pick up more passengers. The driver came down and told him to get off the bus. ‘Go on,’ he said, ‘get off’. I stood up and asked him what he was doing. ‘He cant stay here,’ [the bus driver said]. ‘No,’ I said, ‘the people who don’t want him on the bus are the ones you should get off. He needs to get to a hospital.’ We were only 20 minutes away from one. I tried to ask him his name [but] all I got out of him was Dan Joe. I asked [if] I could phone anyone for him. ‘I have no one,’ he says. ‘Go home’, they were shouting at him. I got very upset.

I said to the driver, ‘if we were sick on a plane, would the pilot throw us off?’ ‘That’s a different matter,’ he replied. The driver should have waited and phoned an ambulance for him. Not a humane bone in his body. [Later] as I got off the bus, I turned around and said ‘I hope you all sleep well tonight, you should be ashamed of yourselves.’ That’s caring Ireland for you [in] 2014. I have reported this matter to Bus Éireann.

Thanks John Murray

Miriam Moriarty Owens (Facebook)

UPDATE:

Miriam writes:

Dan Joe is ok. He had severe food poisoning. He went to the hospital and is home safe. Bus Éireann just rang me apologising about the incident I had to witness and made it clear this is not the way if anybody feels unwell. Every driver has a duty of care to every passenger. They are very upset about this whole matter and are dealing with it urgently. I want to thank each and one of you for all your kind messages. A happy ending, Dan Joe is well.

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68 thoughts on ““He Looked As If He Was Dying”

    1. Alfred E. Neumann

      She probably did. Bodger has added [Later], for no good reason that I can see. Nothing in the original post implies it.

      1. Alfred E. Neumann

        Apologies, Bodger. From her comment thread: “he was on his own I feel so guilty myself I should have got off with him But i was not thinking straight as i was in shock as the way he was treated.”

        1. Clampers Outside!

          I suppose asking him to get out and walk was just callus…

          Can i get a boom, boom…?
          No?
          Fair enough then.

          All joking and contained outrage aside, I hope the dude’s alright like.

          1. Alfred E. Neumann

            “I should have got off with him” is what worries me. It sounds like he was in no condition for a shift.

  1. SK

    I was broadly on board with this until “That’s caring Ireland for you [in] 2014.”

    Moralistic, misty-eyed rubbish. You honestly think that if this was the 1970s, everyone would have rallied around him and given him a king’s chair to the nearest hospital?

      1. SK

        I’m not. Moral outrage loses so much of its power when it’s placed on a timescale, that always seems to imply that things were better back in the day.

        1. Sidewinder

          I think her point is the exact opposite actually. That we are supposed to have moved on and progressed as a society. Like when I hear about women being taken to court to force c-sections on them and I say “Jesus, it’s 2014” I’m clearly not implying that 1950, in the era of symphisiotomies and mother and baby homes, was any better.

          1. SK

            I’m going to do something now that never happens in online arguments, and concede that that’s an extremely fair point – you’re dead right, and I did miss the point quite brilliantly.

        2. Nigel

          SK\s moral outrage is carefully calibrated. Get the date, the tone, the expression wrong and suddenly it’s all canceled out.

  2. Spud

    Actually, surely this is a troll?
    She mentions *she* was upset 4 times!!
    Someone somewhere is tucking into a big bowl of popcorn watching this…

  3. Brainer

    Why didn’t you get off and help the man if you were so worried about him?

    “That’s caring Ireland 2014!!!” *hops of bus straight into waiting limo*.

      1. Loony Loo

        Nothing worse than this type of person. ‘sharing’ about what they saw, venting moral outrage, and doing nothing to help.

        She will meet those other people in Hell, and will still be assuming the high moral ground pointing the finger and winging.

        I think they have Facebook in Hell so she’ll be still able to vent her moral outrage.

        1. Nigel

          Nothing worse than people who think the venting of moral outrage is worse than the occurrence of what was clearly an outrageous incident.

  4. Murtles

    Tralee women always go shopping on a Thursday. Nothing gets in their way. Even if someone upped and died on the bus, they’ll roll em under the seat and insist the driver put the pedal to the metal. Neither god nor man will delay shopping day.

  5. Sidewinder

    If that had been me I’d have stayed on the bus but I do agree with her account of the attitude shown towards people who are sick in public places. I’ve seen older people who clearly have dementia being treated like they’re diseased rats even if they’re well dressed, clean and tidy – seems people think if they’re behaving oddly it’s clearly their fault or something.

    Also heard a story recently of a girl (friend of a friend) who collapsed on Westmoreland street from severe anaemia, she lost consciousness and awoke to find herself on the ground, no-one had stopped to see what was wrong with someone who just fell limply to the ground and when she weakly asked several people for help they just walked past her.

    This all stems from attitudes towards homeless people and drug addicts and it’s utterly shameful that anyone could just stroll past someone obviously in distress who is asking, not for money, but simply for help.

    Lads it wouldn’t kill ye to wait with someone or at least call an ambulance. I’ve done it myself (more than once because I’m trained in CPR and first aid) and anyone I’ve ever been late to meet or to work for has always understood.

    1. Jack Ascinine

      I’m not the most sympathetic person going but even I would stop to ask someone if they were ok. For those that would walk over a person like that in distress, they seriously need to reflect on wtf their values in life are.

    2. Llareggub

      I had a similar experience a few years back. My daughter who was about five then, fell at the top of the escalator in the Stephen’s Green centre. A man (prick), dressed in a lovely suit looked at her and stepped over her.

  6. ZeligIsJaded

    It’s funny, because in general bus drivers are sound, compassionate and patient. In my experience anyway.

    Oh no, wait that’s a different crowd I’m thinking of

  7. 15 cents

    reading down thru the comments is disgusting, a brief glimpse thru them and you get the feeling everyone is really angry with this woman. typical cynical BS commenters, who unfortunately, do serve as a microcosm for irish people in general. you’re all like the people on the bus shouting at the oul lad. horrible f***ers the lot of you. if u need to get angry, direct it better. FFS.

    1. Murtles

      Go Home !!!
      (Unless you are already at home then, like, that defeats the purpose of this comment and there’ll be the whole egg on my face scenario to contend with).

    1. jungleman

      Or maybe she was the old man. In which case she definitely should have gotten off with him and should be ashamed of herself for not doing so.

  8. fluffybiscuits

    Being one of the cynics on BS Im loathe to think I could be one on this post. From reading the post the post is not about the situation itself but more so about the reaction from the bus driver and fellow passengers. I am thoroughly with 15 cents on this one. Maybe the OP did not phone as she had no phone, her battery was dead and sought help from others. We are the first to call people out on their bullshit (that photographer fella and his crap project or that other guy who rights about getting s**t done) and we do it well but this is something different. The reflections of some BS commentators exactly mirrors that of some of the bus passengers. No point waffling on, I’d be accused of preaching or being on a high horse….

    1. Nigel

      There’s nothing that’ll cut through your self-confidence and your assurance that you’re doing the right thing than a whole bus full of angry people insisting that no, they’re doing the right thing. It takes courage and inner strength to put yourself forward and stand up to that kind of thing. Even if she could have done more she did more than literally every other person on that bus, and way more than any of the commenters who weren’t there. Did the fact that she didn’t do more undercut the story? No. It simply emphasises how difficult it can be to do the right thing in that kind of situation. She’s a good person and wishes she’d done more, and we should have empathy for that, rather than contempt.

      1. Sidewinder

        I’d also give her the credit that if you’re not used to being presented with a high pressure situation it’s extremely hard to think straight even without twenty people shouting you down. My first experience of giving first aid was to a man who had a seizure in a shopping centre, the manager of the nearest shop told me to go and that he would handle it, presumably because I was quite a young woman at the time (I was 17) but I never even asked if he knew what he was doing. Once the guy was in the recovery position I just left. We were surrounded by rubber neckers and I didn’t feel like it was my place to take charge even though I could well have been the most qualified having done an advanced CPR and first aid course.

        Also that’s another thing – any time I’ve given help to someone in such a situation I’ve found that, despite being the first/only person to step up and help, I’m very quickly surrounded by people who stop to check out the show.

        1. Nigel

          I still remember with shame the time I was walking in Paul Street in Cork, and there was a man lying on the ground, and everyone was walking past him, so I walked past him, too. I knew I was doing the wrong thing, and it was like a hot poker in the back of my neck. I had to stop and go back, but by then someone was helping him. Jesus, that was a lesson in the inertia of crowds

  9. LeScull

    I find this story very hard to believe, i’ve witnessed two incidents of people falling ill on buses before, one on a bus eireann and one on a dublin bus, on both occassions passengers showed concern and alerted the drivers who contacted their head offices or ambulances directly and stopped the bus at a later stop to wait for the ambulance.
    On both occassions other passengers got off to accompany the person in the ambulance as well.

    1. Kav

      i was on a Dublin-Cavan bus before and a young man had an epileptic fit and a fellow passenger came to his aid and put his leather wallet between the young man’s teeth so he wouldn’t damage them or swallow his tongue. have seen great acts of kindness many times on public transport in ireland.

      1. Mary Mary

        Nice that he tried to help, but for anybody reading this, please do NOT stick anything into the mouth of someone having an epileptic fit.

        1. Sidewinder

          Thank you! I’ve heard absolute horror stories about this including someone nearly choking to death on half a pencil.

          Basic first aid should be mandatory in schools.

    1. scottser

      driver should have called an ambulance, simple as. horsing someone off a bus while in obvious distress is a pretty disgraceful thing to do.

  10. tom tom

    In my abundance of Bus Eireann passenger experience I can confidently say I have never met a driver that wasn’t a prick. I am not sure why but they are. Never met the exception.

  11. beebopboop

    Was on the Dublin to Wicklow route, last bus to Wicklow, when a man took ill and asked if he could possibly get off the bus for a moment. The driver gruffly informed him if he got off he couldn’t get back on as the bus couldn’t wait. The man was left off the bus between on the N11 between the Cabinteely Village and the Loughlinstown Hospital stops, the bus then proceeded to arrive in to Bray 15 minutes early where the driver got off for a cigarette while we waited to make up the time. Have never been able to figure out why the driver was so callous towards the man.

  12. Murtles

    Fair play to Miriam who has updated the story on FB.

    “Dan Joe is ok. He had severe food poisoning. He went to the hospital and is home safe. Bus Eireann just rang me apologizing about the incident…..”

    Kick in the arse hopefully for that driver.

  13. Aido

    The Stanford Prison Experiment (1) and the murder of Kitty Genovese(2) really highlight that, not only have we a remarkable talent of disconnecting ourselves from the suffering of others but that we’re all sheep, afraid to break with the consensus of the crowd. I think this woman could have done more, but don’t underestimate how hard it is to stand up to a group of people and question their actions, to be that one person who risks becoming the next target of the crowd.

    Oh, and @PaddyIrishMan, I’m invoking rule 37; the Nazi officers who were ‘just following orders’ at the concentration camps are another example of the power of crowds to deflect accountability and diminish personal responsiblity.

    1. http://news.stanford.edu/pr/97/970108prisonexp.html
    2. http://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/scraig/gansberg.html

  14. J.K.

    Why didn’t the bus driver phone dispatch ask them to phone for a taxi to meet them at the stop nearest a hospital. If I’d been on the bus I would have paid for him to get to the hospital. It wasn’t her responsibility to be honest people blaming her because she helped more than the others are missing the point altogether.

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