Good Samaritan

A Good Samaritan Today

A certain man while walking along a highway was attacked by some thieves, who beat him terribly and robbed him. Then they left him wounded and bleeding along the side of the road.

By chance there came a charismatic Catholic and a reformed Jew walking along that way. When they saw the man, they passed by on the other side. Likewise, a bible-toting Baptist, a proud to be "full-Gospel" Pentecostal, a "word-walking" plain-old Protestant, and even a couple of New Age Unitarian Universal existentialists happened along, while on their way to an inter-faith community leaders conference. As each one in turn came upon the man and saw him lying helplessly beside the highway, all passed by on the other side.

However, a certain Samaritan as he was walking came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him he had compassion on him. Being on foot and without any means or provisions to render aid, the Samaritan ran two miles to the nearest public telephone and hurriedly dialed 911.

Because funding for the police, paramedic and fire rescue services had all been drastically cut, being woefully under-staffed there was no unit available to send, especially not to such an out-of-the-way place. The emergency dispatcher immediately gave the sympathetic Samaritan a referral list of private ambulance companies to contact.

One-by-one the Samaritan called each of the ambulance companies, but all required a cash deposit prior to actual transport of the patient, which they would be happy to charge to the "financially responsible party" on any valid American Express, MasterCharge or Visa Card. In lieu of a cash deposit, only a limited number of health insurance plans were accepted, providing they could obtain prior authorization from the health care provider for ambulance services (but no HMO's or PPO's).

In vain, the Samaritan tried to explain that the thieves had stripped the man naked and left him penniless without his wallet; there was no way to show proof of health care coverage even if he had any! The Samaritan was praised and verbally applauded for his valiant efforts to act as an advocate on the injured man's behalf, but since he was unable to secure the required deposit, he was politely refused service. The Samaritan was told not to worry himself any more about the victimized man. Someone else has probably already come along and, seeing the man's plight, provided assistance.

Not to be thwarted in his effort to get help for the badly injured and hopelessly stranded stranger, the Samaritan hurried off in the direction of the nearest town. With an air of expectancy he entered the first establishment he found, which was a "rental-car" agency. Although all he wanted to do was get the fallen traveler into town as quickly as possible, as soon as the rental car clerk learned why the Samaritan wanted to rent one of their cars, he immediately turned the Samaritan away citing the regulatory terms of the "liability coverage" on their entire fleet, which strictly prohibited the use of any of their vehicles to transport the handicapped or disabled. Their insurance contract also prohibited use of rental vehicles for commuter transport or car pools.

Even though the Samaritan patiently explained that none of these exclusions were applicable in this case, the apprehensive desk clerk insisted there was nothing he could do. According to company policy the matter required the approval of the office manager, who would not be available until the following Monday morning; but if he'd like to leave his name and number, he would ask the manager to get back to him as soon as possible.

Seeing that any further attempt to reason with the clerk would be futile, the Samaritan sighed deeply to himself as he left the rental agency and hurried down the street to the local drug store to buy some first aid items with which he could temporarily treat the bleeding man's wounds. Once he finally reached the register, to his utter dismay, the Samaritan was astonished to learn that without a major credit card or bank check guarantee card, (regardless of how urgent the circumstances were) without proper identification, the drugstore clerk (according to their store policy) steadfastly refused to accept his out-of-town check. The Samaritan could not even purchase necessary bandages or ointment for the injured man's wounds. In desperation the Samaritan traded his coat with the merchant for a box of Band-Aids and some antiseptic swabs.

It was with a heavy heart that the Samaritan began his return journey on foot. The irony served to reinforce his determination to get back to the helpless man.

On his way through town the Samaritan spotted a congenial looking community church. Thank God, he thought as hope sprang up in his heart. Here he knew he would find "like-minded people" who would lend a helping hand. The Samaritan hurried up the steps and knocked on the office door. With the pastor's help and the church's van, he thought, we'll be able to get to the injured man before dark!

In the pastor's comfortable study, the Samaritan listened silently as the pastor (while patting the Samaritan frequently on the shoulder) explained how he'd really like to help the poor fellow who was injured, but unfortunately it was entirely out of his hands. In a recent vote, the church council members had unanimously decided that church's new maxi-van was to be exclusively reserved for "group functions" of the church membership only.

The Pastor enthusiastically commended the Samaritan for wanting to help the man. He expressed his utmost admiration for the Samaritan's compassion and lavished a steady stream of compliments upon him concerning his Christian zeal, as he slowly but deliberately ushered the Samaritan to the door. While insisting he was not insensitive to the injured man's plight, the pastor applauded the Samaritan's willingness to take up "the man's cause," but he didn't think he or his church should get involved -- who knows what kind of liabilities there might be . . .

Once again the Samaritan was turned away. The pastor apologetically handed the Samaritan a list of various other city, county, and public health agencies that he thought would be better suited to this particular need.

After searching from dusk until after dark, the Samaritan finally relocated the body of the mortally wounded man, laying in a ditch beside the highway. Chasing away stray dogs which had come to lick the bleeding wounds, the Samaritan stood quietly beside the now lifeless corpse. Prolonged exposure to the elements had been more than his beaten body could bear. Bending down beside the bruised and broken body, the loving Samaritan put out His nail-scarred hand and gently closed the dead man's eyes . . .   while tenderly caressing the man's battered face -- Jesus wept.

[ Author unknown -- story up-date: Anonymous ]


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