We invite you to remember your loved ones who have died by committing an act of kindness in their honor. Love, kindness, generosity, sharing, these are the gifts we can give to them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

From Christiane Morecock:

Hi! I have a new random act of kindness. A little late, but this is a good one!

            So I am back in Ecuador, in a very safe city called Cuenca. I have a friend who was getting ready to travel South America and he started in a city called Quito about 9 hours north of here by bus. He was celebrating New Year's Eve there and from what I heard had a pretty fun night. When he was heading back to the hostel, however, his whole group noticed this girl seizing in the middle of the road. They tried to help her but she wouldn't stop seizing. So my friend walked to the corner to grab a cab to take her to the closest hospital.
As he's standing on the corner a girl walked up to him and asked him for the time. When he looked down at his wrist to checked his watch, she stabbed him (I should have prefaced this with my friend being totally OK! Don't worry. The random act of kindness is coming). Long story short, he ended up with three stab wounds: two in the abdomen and a very fortunate, superficial wound in the neck. The cops arrested the girl and her accomplice.
            He was taken to the emergency room to clean up the wounds, examine them and send him on his way. Unfortunately this attack ended in a robbery and his credit card was in police custody and he couldn't pay the $400 emergency room bill. (Side note: a billion times cheaper than the US, the ambulance alone would have been at least $2000) So a boy he met just the night of New Year's Eve, named Michael, lent him the $400 without knowing him. He just trusted my friend enough to be decent. Michael, from the UK, becomes even more impressive in a moment.
The hospital decides it's about time to release him, and he starts to feel woozy and his heart is beating out of control. He asks them to keep him a little longer. They comply. He continually gets attacks of tachycardia and he feels like he is about to pass out, so he tells a nurse what is happening and they agreed to give him a CT scan.
            My friend is suffering from internal bleeding and needs emergency surgery to repair the damage. But it seems, as we came to figure out, that Ecuador requires a guarantee of payment in these situations before they operate. They are not accepting credit card numbers over the phone from his parents, they want a physical credit card. The volunteer organization refuses to put down a credit card because they don't trust that he or his family will ever pay it back. Instead they called me because we traveled to Ecuador together. But as you may remember, I am 9 hours away on January 1st, the largest Latin America travel day of the year. They say on the phone that he is critical and they need me there right away or he is going to die and that I am wasting time talking to them on the phone and asking me why I don't have a flight yet and telling me they can't wait for me to go to the airline and make a flight they need the card RIGHT NOW!
So, I go to the airline and start begging for flights at the airlines who are open. All flights are booked. I waited on two waiting lists and cried to almost everybody in the airport, but no one is buying it. I called them back to ask my options. The volunteer organization told me my only option was to call the US embassy, they couldn't do it themselves because they were afraid they wouldn't take them seriously as Ecuadorian citizens. I called the US embassy, who was closed for the holiday, and got connected to their emergency line. I explain (in English, thank god) the entire situation and how I need them to help him. They tell me they are already aware of the situation. Michael from the UK had already called them. The embassy explained they were connected to the right people and they assured me everything would be fine and that my friend would get his surgery before I arrived to the hospital. Michael continued to call the embassy to update them on the progress and the embassy would call me so that I wouldn't have to worry.
            Michael was an incredible stranger. Maybe it was just being decent, but the volunteer organization wasn't doing ANY of what he did. I am not saying my friend, whose name is Demik by the way, would have been left for dead without him, but that's something I'll never have to find out. 

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