Not Exactly The Christmas Spirit

A native Westporter returned home for the holidays. The day before Christmas he picked up his girlfriend at the station, then did some errands.

He parked in front of the post office, and went inside. The Nissan Rogue began to roll backward. His girlfriend could not get the car in park, or reach the emergency brake. She jumped out, was clipped by the door and fell. The right front tire rolled over her leg. The car continued backward, before catching on concrete.

Fortunately, damage to the young woman was limited to ligaments. The car is okay too. No one else — and no other vehicles — were damaged.

So what makes this story “06880”-worthy?

Two cars drove through the Playhouse Square lot. Both drivers saw a young woman on the ground, next to a car that clearly did not belong where it should — and continued on their merry way.

The ex-Westporter — a bit disappointed by this tarnished Christmas (or human) tale — does thank the people who stopped to help.

Once you get into Playhouse Square, why stop for someone else?

Once you get into Playhouse Square, why stop for someone else?

12 responses to “Not Exactly The Christmas Spirit

  1. Dan. It seems to me that you pine for the good old days when Westport was populated only by warm, caring, charitable, and less self absorbed people. I doubt that was the case. The passage of time makes the good old days seem better than they were. In 40 years, today’s Westporters will look back fondly at the 2010s and wonder where their prized town went. I remember my youth in a tough city with only the fondest memories.

    Bruce N.

  2. Dan,
    The Westport we remember from the 50’s & 60’s was a true community. As a kid you were just as likely to have a friend whose father was a famous actor, well-known artist, master of the corporate world or one whose father drove a bus or mowed lawns. It appears that the Bruce above is relatively new to the area and can’t imagine or believe what it was like. We will never be able to return Westport to those days and the only thing we can think about those drivers who ignore someone in need is that there is a thing called Karma. Maybe they will be the first to have their balloon maxi-mortgage payments come due… we can only hope.
    Happy New Year

  3. Have to agree with Bruce Fernie– it was quite a golden age in Westport with wonderful sense of community of all kinds of people mixed together — the shopkeeps, firemen, and teachers could actually afford to live there!!

    I was on a road trip by myself recently to a large city in another part of the country. After having my car serviced for the trip, it breaks down in a little town in the country, at a local eatery with wilderness all around. Talk about scary. It was dark, cold, my husband wasn’t with me, and amazingly and wonderfully, I had more people stop and help me than I could count — so many people stopped just to ask if I was OK — and the town people took care of me until I could arrange for towing, a hotel, etc. So, can that happen in Westport? I don’t know. Maybe? I would hope so but this story is a bit disturbing. A young girl on the ground? Who wouldn’t stop to help?

  4. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I remember when this never would have happened in Westport. The facts are, however that we have become superficial and self-absorbed, not only in Westport, but in most other places as well. I live in Ohio and here we think we’re the warmest, most down to earth, most laid-back, most caring place on Earth. But we’re not. Our credit cards are maxed out. Telemarketing robocalls are doing a computerized end-run around the Federal Do Not Call List. The only thing that the marketers haven’t tried is printing advertisements on toilet paper and even toilet paper is reducing its sheet count and nobody complains. We are stressed from following the Kardashians, our Thanksgiving dinner (which was the last bastion of “chilling out”) was interrupted by the latest scheme to get us consuming even more crap 24/7/365 or else Wall Street will collapse and we can’t figure out whether Obamacare is unconstitutional or the Republicans are being unconstitutional by stonewalling it. Dan is just pointing out an isolated example of what is going on all over the country. In a word: FUBAR. Go to the church of your choice or if you don’t have one stay home and pray for forgiveness. Thank GOD the girl wasn’t hurt because everyone was too busy shopping to give a r–‘s a–!!!!

  5. The Westport Post Office and Playhouse Square parking lot is a war zone on the front lines of inconsideration and abuse in a town that has lost it’s sense of caring and community. It’s not our father’s Westport anymore. This self-promoting town has become belligerent and intolerant, as we get high on money and self-congratulation.

  6. David Schaffer

    Hmm . . . so taking into account the Biblical tale of The Good Samaritan, in which many people passed by an injured traveler but only one “exceptional” one stopped to help, and the reminiscence of 3/4 of the people above, we can conclude the world was an ugly place, then a beautiful place, but is now an ugly place again.

    Sorry Dan, I’m with Bruce Fernie on this one, and I lived in Westport from 1970-1985. Obviously someone DID stop to help this injured woman, and at any given time during Westport’s history there would have been people who would have passed by this person, while probably most people would have stopped to help. The facts about the increasing inaffordability of housing in Westport aren’t really relevant to that, and as far as “all kinds of people mixing together,” that depends entirely on how you define “difference”: certainly there were many kinds of people who were not present in Westport during those times.

    Fact is, this incident could have happened at any time in history, the whole world hasn’t gone evil, the past was no better and was in some ways worse, and other than being genuinely glad that no one was hurt and that there was little damage from this incident, there really is nothing to see here.

    • A lot has changed since the almost thirty years since Mr. Schaffer has lived here. It is neither justifiable nor excusable to say that times might have been worse in the past, or that someone finally stopped, and, well, mo one was really hurt, anyway … No one should have passed the person in need of help. As a point of reference, since New York is being mentioned, I slipped off a cobble stone curb into the street on Prince in 2010 and shattered my hip seriously. Not one person passed me without offering to help in any way they could, including pedestrians, shopper owners and workers, tourists and drivers. Finally, a homeless vetetan helped me into my car when my wife pulled up to where I was sitting. In Westport, it seems, such consideration is not on the mind of people who are in a rush. It’s pathetic.
      David Meth

      • Ditto NYC, my hometown. In May of this year, rushing home to catch a 5th grade concert at CES, I stepped in a pothole crossing 50th and Broadway, rolled my ankle and heard it crack, knowing right away it was broken. Fortunately a sign post was within reach so I didn’t hit the deck but as I held on a passer by asked if I was ok and I said matter of factly that I had broken my ankle and needed to go to the hospital. By some miracle (this is Times Square at 5PM remember) an empty taxi pulled up and the passer by helped me in. I told the driver (who was from India or Pakistan, I could not tell which) what had happened and that I needed to go to the hospital. He told me to relax, that he would get me there as soon as possible and that he would not charge me. He delivered me to St. Luke’s Roosevelt ER, went in and got a wheelchair, lifted me into it, rolled me into admissions and wished me well.

        (I won’t ruin the story by discussing my ER experience!)

      • David Schaffer

        My parents continued to live there for many years and I was a frequent visitor. I still go a couple of times a year. I stand by what I said: “These are the good old days” (Carly Simon)

  7. In the almost 30 years that Mr. Schaffer has been absent from Westport, a lot has changed in ways that are neither justifiable nor excusable by history or or the fact that someone finally came to help. No one, especially the first two cars, should have passed by.

  8. We used to be less than enamoured of seeing so many NY license plates crowding “our” town. But most New Yorkers seem very friendly, especially if a word is exchanged. If Westport has become so hostile due to overcrowding, why are “New Yorkers” among the friendliest? What happens to make many (but not all) people to become so self-absorbed and inconsiderate when in Westport? I could never live there again. Give me the woods of north Wilton.

  9. To a large degree, you give what you get. Is Westport a less friendly place now, than it was in 1988? or 1968? I’m sure the anecdotes are true and, sadly, it is. However reading Dan’s blog from a short distance away (in Hartford County) and as a frequent visitor to town, I wonder what would happen if the town were friendlier towards those who carry the blame for the changes? Do most people who have lived in town for 30 years welcome those New York license plates sported by recent transplants? I read and hear much disparaging these folks as I do pining for a friendlier time…