Saturday, February 15, 2020

A request for a ride, an unexpected stranger and the beating of a lifetime


Emergency - Royalty-free Ambulance Stock Photo

Working the evening shift on 18 Boy with my regular partner Max. We had just transported a patient to Harlem Hospital. Max was the tech while I was driving. I helped Max get the patient out of the vehicle, returned with the empty stretcher, placed it back in the ambulance and got in the drivers seat to wait for Max to present and sign over the patient to the nurse. It didn't take long, about 5 minutes till Max jumped into the passenger seat. As I was about to turn on the ignition the back door opened and someone got in and closed the door of the cab. I looked at Max as to say "who are we giving a ride to". Sometimes we'd give one of the nurses a ride to pick up dinner or drive another member a few blocks to their car. To my surprise Max looked at me in the exact same way.
Interested, we got out of the ambulance, opened the side door and looked inside to find some stranger laying across the side bench, hands propping up his head. He looked like he had more of a right to be there than we did.
Max spoke up "Yo, what the fuck you doing in here?"
The gentleman looked at both of us and said, incredibly "Drive me to Wyoming!"
Now there was me, 6 foot tall, weighing in at about 220. Max was about 5 foot four, head like a bowling ball and body like a bulldog. Damn! We're Harlem EMT's! We don't take shit shit from anyone. Reaching into the ambulance we each grab a leg and drag the bastard out and shove him against the side of the vehicle.Now we have him standing. It was then that I realise that this is not some ordinary drunk. My face reache about nipple high on him. Max, who would have been four inches taller if not for his bowl legs reached to his waist .Son of a bitch must be seven feet tall!

 Fully aware of what we're up again I finally comprehend the meaning of the old Biblical saying
"Pride goeth before the fall". Max must be thinking the same thing as we both try to make a bolt for it at the same time. No way. The guy reaches out,grabs us both and begins to  beat the crap out of us.. Up against the ambulance we were thrown, underneath the ambulance Max was pushed while I was lifted and set down with a painful thump onto the hood.Punches rain down on us continuously. This guy was throwing us around like a cat two frightened mice.
"Max! Crack him in the head with your flashlight!" "Rocco I can't reach his head!!" Max screams back. Finally, after a good ten minutes, either because he was tired or no longer amused, the guy throws us both to the ground, looks down and yells "Fuck you motherfuckers!" and walks away. We lay there, our bodies aching and bloody, our pride dissipating  in the July night's air.
I turn to Max laying next to me.
"What do we do now?".
Max looks at me incredulously "I ain't going after that motherfucker!". "
"Should we call the cops or something"
Max, now sagelike in my eyes "You gonna explain how the both of us got our asses kicked"
I bowed my head to the sage in respect. We help raise each other up from the ground , limp over to the station, change uniforms in the locker room and gingerly walk back to the ambulance. A lesson learned and never forgotten.