The Happiest Place On Earth ISN'T when you're having a psychotic break...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Today was the only day we could use our Disney passes during the holiday break, so we decided to go to see the decorations they put up for the Smallworld ride and all the other festive displays.

    As we exited the parking structure this morning and were coming down the escalator, I noticed a tall man with a pale face and very odd expression down below. He was looking up at the structure like he was searching for someone. I didn't think anything of it, until we got down on the ground.

    By then, he had turned around and walked toward the shuttles and we were approaching him. Then I could hear that he was crying and very distraught. My family went on ahead of me as I slowed to check him out and see if I could help. He had dropped a large plastic bottle that had ice in it and what looked like water. The lid was on the ground and it was laying on its side spilling out, while he was standing with his face in his hands sobbing.

    He was crying, "My family! My family! I've lost my family! I don't know where they are!"

    I approached him and asked him if he dropped his water and he cried yes, so I bent down to pick it up. The container lid was between his feet, and not wanting to get too close, I asked him if he could pick up the lid. He said he couldn't, still sobbing, so I told him to sit down on the concrete planter that was right behind him, which he did. Then I tried to get him to pick up the lid, but his crying just became worse and he was reaching out to me. Another gentleman stopped by this time to see if he could help and he patted the guy on the arm telling him to calm down and that he was okay.

    I asked the guy if he was there with his family or if he was by himself. He was just so upset and he kept saying he didn't know where they were and that he'd lost them. Then suddenly, as if a switch had flipped, his voice changed and he said in a deadpan voice, "No, they're not here." Then he immediately stood up and started to walk back towards the parking structure, but he stopped again and was wiping the tears from his eyes and trying to catch his breath and sort of regain his composure.

    Meanwhile, Disneyland staff, about 5 of them, were just standing about 25 yards away watching the whole thing. I walked toward them and said the man really could use some assistance and that he seemed a bit disoriented. They mumbled something about possibly calling security and kept their distance from the man who was slowly moving toward the parking structure.

    I really felt bad for the guy. He was just so upset -- his face was very contorted and I could see his was in a lot of emotional pain. What was so unsettling was how quickly he shifted mood and then walked away, but he was clearly slipping back into that despair I had witnessed.

    I don't know what became of him. My kids were a little unnerved by it all. I just explained that he was somebody who probably hadn't taken his medications today and he was feeling really bad about something. Hopefully someone on site got him some help or found whomever he was supposed to be there with.

    Not sure why I felt such a connection to this guy. He just seemed so overwhelmed and helpless and I wanted to help. But part of me was very leery about getting too close to him. Perhaps I felt that there, but for the grace of God and modern medicine, go one of my family members.

    So that was the start of my day at the Happiest Place On Earth. :surprise:
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    You are a good person. Most people would have just stood by gawking at him. The poor soul. :(
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Your exoperience with difficult child's maybe- and understanding that they are still human? Yep, I think you did a very nice thing. If you had screamed, he probably would have been arrested- or he could have been triggered to do God knows what. And my guess is that you were right- it was a medication issue of some sort. And, you taught your kids something thru this too.

    I think you did good!! :)
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    :( How sad for that man. I'm really glad you were there to help him. It really is the smallest things that make the biggest impact.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Poor guy. My heart goes out to him. :(

    I hope someone stepped in to help him, maybe find his family or who he was with.

    I'm also glad you were there and stopped to help. Most people would've shied away, or worse. You showed a good example to your kids today. One they won't forget. And maybe to a few other people too.

  6. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I imagine having been exposed to difficult child behavior we relate to disorientation. I'm glad you kept your distance so that you were safe. Having a strong survival instinct served you well. Emotional instability could have a variety of causes and not all are benign. Calling for help is probably the best thing you could do. Hope the employees called security and helped this guy. Feeling so lost has to be terrifying.
  7. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    It's sad that in this day in age we have become so wary of people. How nice of you to help hiim out. I would have done the same. He could have truly lost his family, or just been down. It's sad that the staff didn't help him out no matter what the issue was. Bless you.

  8. ML

    ML Guest

    It is very sad that in this day and age we have to have laws to protect the good samaritan. I hope that if I am ever in a similar position my humanity will shine like yours did. Having said that, our survival instincts must always be heard.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Wow, thanks for the replies -- I seriously was NOT looking for a pat on the back, but thanks anyway.

    Besides this guy's obvious instability, my caution came out of his sheer size. My husband is 6'1" and this guy had to be at least 4 inches taller. He looked to be 40-ish, and although be was dressed neatly and was clean cut, just something about him seemed unpredictable... I guess it's not unlike stopping to help an injured animal --you just don't know if their pain and fear will make them bite.

    What saddens me most is knowing there are tens of thousands of people like this guy living on the streets in SoCal alone, not to mention the rest of the country. This guy clearly had someplace to go to, by the looks of how well kept he appeared.
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Good for you. I try to be a good person as well.
    People are so afraid and fearful for themselves and of others in this day and age.

    You have some good Karma coming your way baby!
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks, Toto -- I could sure use it!