Be The One To Step Up

I helped stopped a kidnapping last night.

And I don’t mean that as a joke. It’s a statement of fact.

There’s a dark side of psychology, and one of the darkest is the bystander effect.

That’s what lead a whole apartment complex to hear the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 without a single person coming to her aid.

That’s why, when I notice a disturbance, I tend to move towards it.

Chances are good that if I don’t act, then nobody else will.

That’s what happened last night.

The wife & I are winding down for the night when something barely catches my attention from outside.

I’ve learned not to ignore that.

I walk outside.

A teenager is picking up clothes from the middle of the street.

“What’s going on?” I ask him.

“Someone’s trying to –” a car careens around the corner towards us. We both move fast to get out of the way.

The back door’s open on the car.

People piled into the back seat.

Everyone’s screaming.

The car brakes hard.

People tumble out onto the pavement.

I stand in front of the car wondering if the driver’s going to punch the gas.

Most of the struggle moves away from the car. A child is screaming “I don’t want to go!” at the top of his lungs. Crying.

I decide not to get directly involved. Seen that go south way too fast way too many times.

Instead I’m present as a witness and add a sense of accountability. It’s harder to make bad choices when strangers are watching.

I stand 30 feet away, but still in the path of the car preventing it from leaving. Hopefully.

A neighbor comes out in his boxers. He asks me what’s going on.

“I think it’s a kidnapping. Not sure who’s taking who.” I tell him.

“I’ll be right back” he says.

Few moments later he’s wearing proper shorts.

“Let’s go.”

We get close. Help settle the argument.

Another neighbor shows up a few minutes later. He worked with German Sheppards in Afganistan. He’s a calming presence.

Eventually the cops show up.

The story comes out.

Biological mother & enabling friend drove down from Michigan unannounced. She has no custody. She dropped her son off with the paternal grandparents last year with nothing to his name.

He’s just now getting adjusted to school, a regular home life, and he was terrified of getting in that car.

I stick around until everyone leaves.

Shake hands with the other neighbors who showed up to help.

It’s the most excitement the neighborhood has seen since it was built.

And it could have gone worse if everyone “minded their own business.”

Fortunately sometimes all you need is to be willing to show up to keep things on the best path they could be on.

And that’s just it. Life isn’t only about making sales and doing business.

It’s about relationships and showing up for people who need a witness.

Don’t be afraid to be the one who steps up.

That’s it for now.

Secret Email Society

Receive secret transmissions (emails) with psychology-powered tips, tricks, and stories about making the most out of life & business. Sent on most weekdays.
[wd_hustle id="6" type="embedded"/]