Sometimes common sense prevails. It just bubbles to the surface in an unspoken way and makes sure its voice is heard. But sadly not in the case of the British Heart Foundation store in Landport. When a pensioner had a seizure nearby and passers-by ran into the shop for help, they were told they couldn’t have a coat to keep the injured man warm unless they bought it. While of course we understand that people have rules drilled into them in just about every job these days, it beggars belief that the boss didn’t just think ‘hang the rules’ and grab the warmest thing he could find and give it to the helpers. One passer-by said ‘It’s absolutely disgusting. I don’t understand how a charity shop wouldn’t help’. It’s hard not to agree with him. And he was a visitor to the city – hardly the kind of message we want to send out about the people of Portsmouth. The BHF has apologised, which is laudable and expected. But it’s a shame it came to this in the first place.
The flip side of all this, of course, is the selfless people who went to the 65-year-old’s aid. In an era where we’re constantly told the people don’t care any more and community is dead, it’s great to people stepping up and doing the right thing and stepping in to help. Yes, others probably walked past, but these four made the effort to get involved and do all they could to help the man. So we applaud them and their actions. There’s a lesson there, not only for the BHF, but for all of us.