Wednesday 20 August 2008
Ambos and Tea Spots
I was at a regular tea spot haunt the other night, having a quick drink and something greasy and unhealthy to eat. Most night shift workers will know the place - it's where Police Officers (often from different forces and areas), Ambulance Crews, RAC and AA Crews, Truck Drivers, and Cabbies all end up socialising as they wait for their sausage inna bun.
Whilst chatting to a couple of ambo boys, they told me a story that made me laugh out loud, but made my partner, Tom, recoil in horror and look at me funny. In retrospect it's probably both funny and horrific.
So I thought I'd pass it on.
Both of the ambo lads were paramedics, who usually work on the solo fast response cars.
One night shift in the very early hours of the morning, they had parked up by the river next to each other for a chat and a cup of tea, whilst waiting for the calls that never came.
Of course, warm drink, heaters on, both of them fell asleep.
As one of them described it "The next thing I know, a pissed wailing banshee is hammering on my window and screaming at me."
A very drunk female woke them both up, shouting that a man was hanging himself.
In front of them.
Surely enough, that was what had happened. Whilst the ambo crews had slept, a depressed and also very drunk young man had walked up, tied a rope off a post, and lowered himself on to it. The drunk lady had noticed from a distance and ran to the paramedics.
As the crews described it, they literally woke up in time to see the man drop in front of them. Makes waking up to an alarm clock suddenly seem so much more bearable.
Both paramedics obviously leapt out and dealt with it, and the male was taken to hospital, no serious injuries at all.
Now, obviously if the man had succeeded it would have been a tradgedy. But what made me giggle was the panic the ambos must have felt on A)waking up from an illicit sleep, B)having a screaming banshee hammering on their windows, and C)seeing a man with a noose around his neck lower himself in front of their still bleary eyes.
One of the paramedics told me later that as he was cutting the man down and working on him, the whole time he kept imagining waking up in the hazy dawn light with a corpse hanging in front of two fully marked ambulances.
Apparently they haven't had any more illicit snoozes in public places since then...