The Fallen Man

I called 911. “I’m at Pike Place Market – First and Pike. Someone has collapsed in the middle of the street.”

The dispatcher pressed me for details that I didn’t have. “It looks like we’ve already got someone on the way. Thanks.” I hung up and got back to eating my sandwich.

There was already a crowd huddled over the fallen man. After a couple of traffic light cycles, they picked him up and carried him to the sidewalk where they laid him out.

There was a siren and traffic made way for a fire truck.

I asked a rhetorical question, “Why do they always send both a fire truck and an ambulance?”

Fire fighters jumped out of the truck. A woman wearing business attire reached up from the huddle and shook one of the fire fighters’ hands. The fire fighter was wearing latex gloves.

The crowd wandered away as the fire fighters got to work. The woman was gone within thirty seconds of the handshake.

One of the fire fighters carried a big yellow case over from the truck.

Samantha described the details that I wasn’t noticing. “They’re shocking him.”

“What? Is that what that is? Do they have those paddles? I don’t see it.”

“Yes. They’re shocking him. He just moved.”

“He did? Where’s the ambulance? I guess it’s a good thing that they do send a fire truck.”

The fire fighters helped the man sit up. They left him up for a minute before gently prompting him to lay back down.

Another siren. The ambulance pulled up next to the fire truck. The paramedics talked to the fire fighters briefly, then rolled out a gurney, lifted the man onto it, and hauled him on board.

The ambulance headed up Pike – no flashing lights – and the fire truck followed a moment later. That was it. Samantha and I continued eating our sandwiches. Actually, I think I had pizza.

Categorized as Before


  1. In a potential heart attack situation, seconds count. They will send out whichever can get there first with a defibrillator. Many times it’s the fire truck or the ambulance, but sometimes police cars and such have them too.

  2. It was pizza…greasy, but otherwise sort of bland. Just-before-closing pizza.

    I’d taken off half a day from work specifically so that I could hang out with Jeff. These sorts of events…they’re just attracted to him.

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