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Why was I the One?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is a bit of wondering and pondering. 

Back on Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 2015), my wife and I went out for a visit. When we returned home in the afternoon, we noticed that a smoke alarm was sounding from one of the buildings in the apartment complex. We didn't pay it no nevermind, figuring that someone cooked something a mite too long or spilled gravy on a stove on this heavy cooking day.


Image credit: Freeimages.com / Roy White
An hour or two later, it was getting dark and I realized that the alarm was still sounding, so I took a walk over to that building. People were moving in but ignoring the alarm, and I did not see any signs of fire, smoke, or other distress. Some time back, I read about a woman who had been murdered in the street and it took twenty minutes for her to die because people drew their blinds and didn't want to get involved. I had resolved not to be like that, and this was such a time. What if there really was a problem? Maybe someone had a medical problem and couldn't shut off the alarm, and was hoping for help. Maybe nothing. But I wouldn't be able to live with myself if there was something tragic and I did nothing — like the other people were busy doing.

I had my cell phone, so I called the police and told them the story, emphasizing that there was no sign of fire. They told me to call 9-1-1. Well, okay. So I did that, and again emphasized that there was no sign of fire.

Minutes later, we had a passel of fire trucks and emergency vehicles, including the big truck with the ladders. Hey, I said there was no sign of fire! Oh, well. Whatever the protocol is, I don't know (and the official-type guy I e-mailed never replied). As far as I know, there was nothing to it, seemed to be a faulty alarm that went off while people were away. I was a bit nervous that I'd somehow get in trouble, but I did act in good faith and maybe the "Good Samaritan" laws would apply, so I comforted myself with that.

But why was I the one? Other people were there. I don't believe that I'm special or better than anyone else, and I don't even think it's because I'm a Christian; anyone with a conscience could have checked things out or made the call. Sooner, too.

So, I'm just left wondering about the whole thing and not congratulating myself.

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