Friday, 26 March 2010

Trick up the Sleeve

Once upon a time, in a land not far from here at all, there was a brand new EMT. So new, that he'd only been let loose on the public a matter of a month earlier. He was a nervous, quiet, shy character, not yet quite at ease with his new surroundings, but loving them nonetheless. He wanted to see everything, do everything, know everything, all in the quickest time possible, but for now was always happy that there was someone there wiser, more knowledgeable and more experienced than he to rely on.

One fine day, along with female crewmate, he was sent to an RTC. A lady had fallen off the back of a bus. 'Twas one of the olde worlde, London icon type Routemaster buses, with no door at the rear, and said lady jumped off whilst the vehicle was still in motion. "Stupid", I hear you chorus, with a "serves her right" to boot, but with these buses, jumping on and off at low speed was part of their charm. This time, however, she landed awkwardly and had hurt her arm.

She sat on a wall with her friend, cradling her arm, obviously in pain. As brand new EMT and partner approached the lady, a comment was passed between the patient and friend in a language other than English. A derogatory comment, even a racist one. Said EMT ignored seeing and hearing the comment, registered it and stored it in the back of his mind, and went about attempting to treat the patient. The middle of the patient's lower arm had a shape to it that even to a brand new EMT said "Broken". No question about that one.

Patient wouldn't, couldn't, or didn't make eye contact, and just said, in perfectly good English, "I can't come in your ambulance". Brand new EMT wasn't too shocked, and played dumb.

"If you'd rather be treated by my colleague, that is fine with me. I understand you might wish to be treated by a female".

"No, no. I just can't come in your ambulance".

"Well, if that's the case, I'll just inform our control that you are refusing our aid, despite the fact that you clearly need it. They won't send another ambulance, just because you don't like the look of this one!"

"Oh", she said, and jabbered away in her vernacular to her friend. Clearly they were discussing their next move.

Brand new EMT's patience was wearing a little thin, but he maintained his composure as he asked "Are you refusing to be treated because of who I'm not, or because of who I am? Because you can't choose the crew that get sent to help you!"

Ruse possibly rumbled, patient and friend eventually agreed that they would travel with us and even allowed the brand new EMT to treat the patient. He gave her some entonox to ease the pain, explained that despite the fact that he had not yet been allowed X-Ray glasses that he was fairly certain that the arm was broken, and placed the arm in a splint.

All the while they talked between them about the fact that they'd had to travel in an ambulance with this brand new EMT, how they wished they didn't, how they hated him and his type, and how they'd have to make sure that their friends and family didn't find out about who it was that treated and transported them.

And all the while the brand new EMT sat and with a blank look on his face. Well, wouldn't you if everything around you was in a foreign language?

As they all arrived at the hospital, the back doors opened, and brand new EMT asked the patient how she was feeling now, and if she was ready to leave the ambulance.

Asked, not in English, but in their own language. One which I can't speak fluently, but can understand to a great extent, and speak just enough.

Two faces fell and became instantly beet red, and the two voices became instantly silent.

My face just had on it a small, wry smile.

I could have been angry, furious even. I could have complained, reported them. I could have even refused to treat and transport them.

Instead, I was just glad to have been the bigger person, and have a trick up my sleeve that left me with the last laugh.


Squeezey said...

Nice touch there! Not sure it would have been quite what they were expecting...

Mrs. N. Strange said...

Great job! I can't imagine how that must have hurt at the time, though. I respect your strength in dealing with such shallow minded idiots.

I have received similar treatment for being female. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can surprise someone with for that. ;-)

Keep up the great work...
N Strange

ambulanceamateur said...

Many years ago, a friend of mine was on holiday at a Butlin's prison, sorry, holiday camp. He was about 16.

One night he was in the disco. At one stage he saw two big agricultural types chatting to each other, and making disparaging comments about everyone present. Eventually, they got around to him, making statements about underage drinking (as if that wasn't the main reason for 14-18 year olds going to Butlitz).

As the camp was well in England, they were fairly confident that no one would understand them as they were speaking in Welsh.

Now, whilst my mate was born and brought up in the West Midlands, his family name was Thomas and both his parents were Welsh. Both could speak the language to an extent, his dad being pretty fluent. They'd taught my mate.

So this skinny 16 year old walks up to these two crags of Snowdonia, both in their early 20s, and says in fluent Welsh, "If you two bastards don't watch what you're saying..."

There was a pregnant pause and then all three of them then burst out laughing and he's made a couple of mates for the week.

Anonymous said...

same thing was done to 2 welsh farmers making remarks about a walking party.2 dear ladies(my mates aunts)returned the remarks with interest.2 very redfaced farmers

Jamrock said...

This is just exquisite! Good tale, nicely told.


TOTWTYTR said...

A friend of mine used to be a police officer in a town with a high Portuguese population. He was working at a fiesta one night and two young guys walked by him. One said to the other in Portuguese, "Look at the midge cop."

My friend replied in Portuguese, "The midget cop can give you a full size ass kicking if you want."

The two guys must have found the fiesta boring because the left immediately.

Anonymous said...

A old and wise police officer working in a custody suite once told me of a "Customer" who insisted he could not speak any English. After waiting some time for an interpreter to arrive the suspect was charged and bailed. On leaving the station the officer shouted "You've dropped £10 mate!" then winked knowingly at the suspect as he looked around the ground for the note before realising he'd been caught out!