I believe that most people will do what is right and come to the aid of others in their time of need. When someone is in trouble, it doesn’t matter how old they are or if they speak the same language, people will do what they can to help others.
During a trip this past summer to Europe my family was hiking in the Bavarian Alps above what used to be Hitler’s summer home, the Eagle’s Nest. The area is beautiful, but the terrain is rather rocky and climbing can be rather treacherous at times. We had hiked in for about an hour and had just turned around to come back when I slipped and came down hard on my left leg severely injuring it. Due to the rocky terrain, I was not able to be carried and had to walk, climb and crawl my own way out. This and the subsequent months taught me a lot about myself.
We were far away from anyone and it became my family’s job to get me safely off the mountain. My daughter, five years old, stepped up and took my backpack to lessen my load. My husband helped steady me and encouraged me the whole way, even when I wasn’t sure if I could make it over the next boulder. My son, ten, became our guide scouting ahead for the easiest path and any other hikers. He also became the great joke teller, keeping the mood light when things felt very abysmal. What took us an hour to hike in, took us over three hours to get back. Even the youngest are able to help when needed.
When we got close enough to the Eagle’s Nest my son took my daughter and went ahead to find help. He not only found someone who spoke English, but told them what had happened and where we were on the trail. A group of people then ran out to meet us. They were there to help strangers who barely spoke their language. They were yelling instructions to each other in German and carried me the rest of the way. Once safe, they arranged a golf cart for me to ride to the bus and then the tourist bus would take us back down the mountain. Once on the bus, people who barely spoke English, and some who didn’t at all, were offering my family food and water and blankets.
When we finally got off the mountain, the bus driver told us not to get off the bus and he drove us out of route to a taxi stand and helped carry me to the taxi. Once at the hospital, there were people to take care of our children, and a wonderful staff to take care of me. There we learned the extent of my injury and how fortunate we were for the people who came to my aid. All of these people went out of their way to cross the language barrier to help a stranger in need.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.