Bystander effect

I went to the county fair with one of my good friends, who just happens to have a disability. He decided that he wanted to go on some of the rides. He went on a few, and had a blast! He decided to go back and do his favorite one again. The ride was a giant vertical circle, kinda like a Ferris wheel, and essentially had you go around the inside of the circle (upside down) in a car.

The loading area of the ride had some cars on flat ground, and some where you got in on a slight angle. My friend was one of the last to board, and nobody got up to let him get in one of the accessible cars, even though he was having trouble getting into the others. Needless to say, he fell hard getting into the car, and couldn’t get up.

NOBODY HELPED HIM. Not even the kid sitting in the SAME CAR. A kid behind me laughed. A PARENT laughed. The ride attendant just stood there. I tried to get into the ride, but the guy said “the ride is full.”


“Listen dude, I wouldn’t ride your upside down circle ride if you paid me. Let me in so I can help my friend, who nobody else seems to want to help .”

At this point, my friend had gotten up and was visibly limping and wincing in pain. Still nobody helped. I helped him down the stairs, and as we walked out , the attendant said “well, he rode it okay 15 minutes ago.”


Oh, sorry. I have Tourette’s. (See disclaimer.)

My friend was understandably upset. He wondered why nobody tried to help him. I wondered the same thing. I can understand that maybe some people were shocked and didn’t know what to do, or thought somebody else would help. But after a minute, they could see that nobody was trying to help. ( except me, trying to get into the freaking ride.)

I can understand. But I cannot excuse. I cannot understand or excuse the kid who laughed. I certainly cannot excuse the PARENT who laughed. And I sure as heck can’t excuse the attendant of the ride who just stood there and didn’t even have the decency to ask if my friend was ok.

I told my friend “sometimes people just suck.” I also told him that all the people who suck in this world are greatly outnumbered by people who don’t suck. People who are kind, helpful, and caring. People like him , and like the emt who gave him ice for his injuries. People like the ticket booth attendant who held up the line to make conversation with him about his special Olympics shirt, and then let him in free because he’s just that awesome.

Because of all the people who don’t suck, we had an awesome time at the fair. nice people are always more memorable than mean ones. We weren’t going to let a few sticks in the mud ruin our time, and we didn’t.


I made a joke in this blog post about how I could call the ride attendant an asshole because I had Tourette’s. Honestly, I called him that because it was true.

LESS THAN 10% OF PEOPLE WITH TOURETTES SAY CURSE WORDS. This is called coprolalia and is not common with TS. Please don’t associate TS with cursing. I figured id include this because the main purpose of this blog is to educate and advocate.

Also, have an awesome day 🙂 (yay passive aggressivity?!)



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