Yesterday a girl passed out, free-fell into a desk partition, and whacked her temple so hard on the corner that she had convulsions. Only one professor witnessed the fall, a philosophy professor who is dorky beyond all reason. He's also incredibly nice and well-rounded, and as I study in the commons outside his office every day, I've had ample opportunity to observe him. I knew he was uncomfortable with the situation and kept literally running around fetching the girl things - his own jacket for her to put her head on, a cup of water, and even a vitamin water (which he sprinted up and down three flights of stairs to bring her). After the paramedics came and took the girl away (she was fine, by the way - she'd donated blood earlier and hadn't eaten enough), I asked the professor if HE was okay. He tried to brush it off, and I could tell he was very shaken and needed to really get it off his chest. About an hour later, as I was leaving the building, I ducked my head into his office to talk to him. I asked him again if he was alright, let him vent for several minutes, and ended up introducing myself and talking to him about school. I figured that aside from letting him vent a little of his shock on me, plus giving him someone curiously outgoing to think about, would help him maybe have a better night than he would have otherwise.
I've never, EVER done anything as brave as this. I was terrified beyond self-control. Yet was in strange possession of myself. I had tears in my eyes the entire time because I was so nervous, but it was after five so there wasn't much light in his office and he couldn't see them. Because I was so worried about HIM going into shock I managed to be completely calm and well-spoken and reassuring. It was an out-of-body experience, and certainly an out-of-character one as well. I'm hugely proud of myself for taking such a brave step. His need for comfort and reassurance was much greater than my terror at speaking to him (which was, clearly, very great). I have no doubt he will repay my thoughtfulness in the future. I'm planning to take a logic class from him next quarter (which I told him yesterday) and I'm sure he will make every effort to help me if I get stuck. Furthermore, he will probably prove a useful contact when I'm looking at grad schools. He's a really nice man, and I'm glad I was able to be so brave so I could talk to him.