How Not To Save Someone’s Life

A random photo to illustrate what I saw… I did not take this picture.

One Friday night, it was around 1:30 AM at college and I had just gotten back from work. I decided to take a nice shower before going to bed. When I walked into the bathroom, I noticed someone was laying on the ground in one of the bathroom stalls. Just another drunk kid, I thought to myself. The door was closed and I couldn’t clearly see who it was in there.

I had a feeling it was my neighbor (with who I have a hi/bye relationship) but I couldn’t be sure without getting a better look. I wanted to say something but chose to take my shower first and let him be. I figured if I showered and he was still there afterward, then I’d check to make sure he was okay. And breathing…???

Well, after a nice cold shower, I stepped out from behind the curtain and there he was, STILL lying there on the ground groaning and vomiting sporadically. He was alive. I decided it was my responsibility to do SOMETHING for him. There was only one issue… I couldn’t remember his name! I wasn’t sure how to address him because I’m terrible with names and am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know the names of anyone on my floor! (I know that’s sad. I know all of their names now at least! It’s not easy fitting in with an all-straight/all-male floor when you and your roommate are both gay guys.)

Another random photo.

I approached this kid’s stall and asked, “Eric? Is that you?”

IT’SMATT!” the guy yelled between gurgles.

I tried to casually look under the door to the stall. I recognized that he WAS my neighbor and I could have sworn his name was Eric!

“Eric? Are you ok?” I tried asking.

“MY NAME… IS MATT” he said again with great emphasis. Then he continued to choke on puke.


I knew that if I was going to help him, I’d need the help of other guys on my floor. But then they’d want to know who was in the bathroom and I’d have to give them a name: the name of someone I should know.

I ran to my dorm room, took out my laptop, opened up Facebook, and went on a mission to find one of my neighbor’s Facebook profiles whose names I DO know so I could go through all of the pictures of our mutual friends and eventually figure out the drunk kid’s real name… all while the poor kid is laying on the ground in the bathroom on in his own vomit.

A guy checking his Facebook.

After creeping through profile after profile, I eventually managed to find his profile! AND HIS NAME WAS ERIC! (LOL “MATT”) 

I saw a floormate in the hallway and told him about Eric’s situation. Together, we pulled Eric out of the stall, lifted him up, and carried him to his bed.

I wasn’t sure how drunk he was so I suggested we call the police but my floormate said he’d be just fine.  I wasn’t crazy about not doing anything but I don’t know much about that stuff since I don’t drink so I trusted his judgment on this one.

Thank heavens!

The next day Eric thanked me for helping him and apologized for his careless over-drinking. I never quite figured out who “Matt” was but that didn’t matter anymore. I also learned everyone’s names in the process. I was just happy he lived and didn’t die especially while I was looking for his name on Facebook.

One comment

  1. Although I don’t drink either (I did more than my share during my undergraduate days), I think calling a rescue squad would be my first response. You never know how someone under the influence of drugs. alcohol or whatever may react to strangers. This is a very unusual experience, though! Thanks!

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