WARNING: This story is graphic.
During my stay in London, it was the first time I had ever lived in a hostel (see “Hostel Living in London”). For the first few days, it was as good as sharing a room and shower with random people every day could have been.
One of the major perks of this living arrangement was that I met people from all around the world including Argentina, Canada, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. It proved to be an awesome experience because of everything that I was able to learn about their respective countries.
Everything was great until I discovered an elderly man sitting on the hallway floor, surrounded by a pool of blood on my last night. “Are-are you okay?” I stuttered. I clearly knew that he wasn’t. He was so disoriented that he could not even respond. This was the exact sort of situation that I had been weary about upon first checking into the hostel.
I ran upstairs to the concierge desk to let the attendant know what I had just seen, only he did not respond in the way that I had expected. He was a bit nonchalant about my report. Obviously, I did not know him well enough to know if his response was normal for his type of personality or if he had heard the exact same line so many times in the past that it just did not phase him; Either way, it riled me, and in response, I yelled “CALL THE POLICE THERE IS A MAN SITTING IN THE HALLWAY SURROUNDED BY BLOOD.”
Now you’re probably wondering why I didn’t call the police myself by that point. Well, if you have been keeping up with my posts, you’ll remember that I only had access to wifi because my cell phone company would not unlock my phone, so that I could use a Sim card in Europe.
Back to the story- My reaction (which, by the way is completely uncharacteristic of me, but I knew I had to help this man) caused him to check the camera of the basement hallway. After witnessing the seriousness of the situation for himself, he FINALLY decided to call the police. Only the police was not very helpful either. The attendant explained to me that the police said that there weren’t enough ambulances to meet the demand tonight to take the man to the hospital, and it would be quicker to take him there by foot. It was either a really unfortunate night for a lot of people in London, or London simply needs to improve on their emergency response system.
In any event, we ran back down the stairs to check on the man. by then, another hostel resident had stumbled upon the scene. The attendant explained the phone call, and he informed the man that they would have to travel via taxi or the tube to a nearby hospital. While the information exchange was taking place, I discovered the elderly man’s injury. His middle finger was hanging by a piece of skin, which he eventually ripped off. In the process of the attendant and male resident supporting the man up the stairs he groggily explained that someone had slammed the door to the shower room on his finger.
I decided to stay in the hostel because it was 11:00 pm by then, and I did not think it was a good idea to travel an unknown distance to a hospital and back with men that I also did not know. Not to imply that anything would have happened, but as a lone female traveler, it would not have been a safe decision. Unfortunately, the world is not as safe as it should be, and women have to consider these sorts of factors in such situations.
When I made it back downstairs there was a cleaning lady mopping the blood. However, the next morning I could still see the stain on the floor directly in front of one of the shower stalls. One girl was about to step directly on it, until I directed her to walk around it. It was definitely one of the sorts of things that you could see only if you knew to look for it.
As I was checking out, I asked the morning attendant if she had any updates regarding the situation that had taken place last night. She did not know if the hospital was able to salvage his finger, but she did say that they had checked the tapes.Only, they did not see anyone slam the door on his finger. Now, as an attorney in training, I was skeptical about their review, especially after the night attendant’s response to my concern. ‘Did they thoroughly check the tapes? Was the man lying? These were some of my thoughts on my Tube ride to the bus station.
It was my sixth day in London, and by that point, I was so ready to leave. The bloody crisis, the pitchy accents, and the bland food was enough to make me want to leave the city-in a hurry. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never know what truly caused the man to lose his finger, nor will I ever know the outcome of the situation.
I want to make it clear that this post is not meant to reflect negatively upon the hostel. Emergency situations definitely happen, probably at a more frequent rate in a hostel.
This moment had solidified a thought that I pondered multiple times throughout my travels up to this point-God was truly protecting me on this journey. From just missing an axe attack in Germany, to this situation, along with some other minor mishaps, I knew that I was definitely under guardian protection.
Just before I boarded the bus to leave England, I said a prayer, and hoped that my journey would be a safe one over the English channel and back to the mainland.