February 28, 2017

Escape from East St. Louis; a Samaritan's Tale

Timothy Birdnow

In an era of endless bad news it's nice to read a good story once in a while. Here is just such a storyl.

A surgeon on his way to Belleville, Illinois broke down in East St. Louis, a city as dangerous as any in Honduras or other desperate Third World areas, at night. Dr. Bill Daily, was near 26th Street and Bond Avenue in East St. Louis when he hit a pothole in the road and flattened his tire. East St. Louis is no place to be after dark, and the desperate surgeon - on his way to perform heart surgery - limped to the only open gas station, where the doctor discovered the rim of the tire on his Mercedes wouldn't hold air. A man working there - Mike Austin - drove Dr. Daily to the hospital in nearby Belleville to perform his surgery.

This may seem like a normal act by a Good Samaritan, but in East St. Louis it was nigh unto a miracle; Daily was lucky to get out with his scalp, much less his wallet and passables. Yet he found a decent man in Austin, who was willing to help him.

Daily expressed his thanks: "In this time where there is so much animosity over race and religion, I found people willing to help each other regardless of these things,”

He was also quiet pleased to discover his car unmolested at the gas station several hours later, after he finished the surgery.

The owner of the ZX gas station - Muhammad Nasser - had stayed on duty despite the fact it was passed closing time in a very dangerous neighborhood to watch over Dr. Daily's vehicle.

Both Mr. Austin and Nasser refused any sort of payment.

Breaking down in East St. Louis is a very bad thing. It happened to me once, where I had a flat tire and almost had half the car dismantled by thieves as I was pumping up the tire. I wound up with a SECOND flat because people were letting air out of the tire as I was filling the other side! I wound up driving home to St. Louis on two flats, and ruined the rims, but was thankful to be out of there in one piece. There is a reason why the Griswolds had so much trouble in the movie Vacation in East St. Louis! It's a place that makes the ghetto in any other city seem like the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

(By the way, Vacation has the Griswolds crossing the Mississippi then going to East St. Louis, which is backward; they would have crossed over AFTER leaving America's premier Third World city, our modern Moghodishu.)

Let me paint you a picture of East St. Louis, Illinois; if you need to go anywhere you have to count the streets because the locals steal all the street signs. There are no street lights because they steel the bubls. My friend 7.b. Dave used to have to go there and he said you often had to drive over peoples weedy lawns because the road would be blocked by a junk car or other debris. There are all manner of abandoned factories and buildings, and sometimes people squat in them. A fellow I know actually leads tours of the abandoned properties there; it's become a cottage industry for photographers, to take pictures of such a place, as it is not like anything you will ever see inside America.

At any rate, three cheers for the two Good Samaritans! We need more people like that in this world

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:50 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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