On Wednesday I went to Woburn Safari park. It was something I'd planned to do as part of my short holiday, which in itself was informative as I was able to observe lots of different people who may appear on the page in the future, satisfying my love for animals.
The trip was enjoyable, the animals well cared for and the keepers very supportive of their charges but there was an incident at lunchtime.
Have you ever been in the situation where you are expected to help someone who is unwell? It is quite disturbing and requires more skills than basic first aid, as it also requires a degree of leadership and assertiveness. I'm not relating the tale from a position of strength or success. I have never done much first aid training but I knew certain things were not done correctly but felt secondary in the situation.
To cut a long story short an elderly gentleman collapsed in front of me and before I could begin to get him into a recovery position a young couple took over and tried to sit the man in a chair, with my help. It seemed the young lady had some kind of health training and quickly assessed that the man may have had a stroke. The man had another turn and ended up lying down while we awaited the ambulance. By that time several other people including the lady he was with had turned up so I quietly withdrew.
I don't tell the tale to highlight mine or anyone else's inadequacies but to show the level of care people have for someone with a problem. It's true that some don't want to be involved but for the most part people were very supportive of the man. I believe that most people are good hearted.
However, I can't let the experience go by without carping at the government and the cuts in public services. The man first collapsed at 12:30 the first professional medics to arrive were paramedics in a first response vehicle about an hour later, and he was still lying on the ground after 1.5 hours. Words fail me!
Then there were lots of examples of people supporting the animals but the relationship that stood out was between the gentleman and the elephant pictured above. I'd never stroked an elephant before and had the opportunity, but the whole time the Burmese elephant was passing the quite noisy crowd and all of the patting hands, her keeper was chatting and holding her attention. He said that she was incredibly gentle anyway but the level of trust between the two of them was wonderful to see. The colouration by the way is natural to Burmese elephants and although she doesn't look so large, weighed in at 3 tons and was 36 years old.
So come on folks most people are fundamentally good at heart. Belief in humanity should be given a glimmer in our books and articles.