If you see something happen, take action

By |  February 18, 2016 0 Comments
Seth Jones

Seth Jones

When I was a kid, we drove by a house that looked like it was on fire. Smoke was billowing from under the eaves. My dad turned off on the next street and went into military mode. He directed my mom to knock on the nearest door and have them call 911 (this was pre-cellphones) and noted the street and address. He ordered me to follow him; Our job was to pound on the door and see if anyone was inside.

As we ran toward the house we saw a chubby little man burst out of the front door with a confused look. My dad shouted, “Are you OK?” The man responded, “No! I’m grilling out, and I just heard my address over the police scanner — someone called in and said my house is on fire!”

Dad’s sprint slowed to a jog, then a walk, then an about-face. He quietly instructed me to follow. A police car, lights flashing, drove past us. By the time we got back to the car, we could hear the fire truck’s sirens in the distance.

My dad told me — as we quickly drove away — that while he regretted wasting the police and fire department’s time (not to mention spoiling the guy’s barbecue), he couldn’t have lived with himself if he just drove on by and didn’t try to help out in what he thought was an emergency situation.

It’s a lesson I’ve tried to remember (with the added lesson to look for a smoking grill before dialing 911). If you see something, say something, and if needed, do something. We’re all in this together.

I’m thankful my friend Kyle Johnson, superintendent at Inverness CC in Birmingham, Ala., has the same attitude. At the 2015 Golfdom Summit, he may have saved a man’s life because he decided to take action.

Following 18 holes of golf, a large group of us converged on the Reunion Resort clubhouse bar. We had time before the evening’s next event, so we were hanging out, enjoying a few beverages and each other’s good company.

When Kyle broke off for a quick bathroom break, he saw something unusual. Under one of the stalls, he saw feet, but not sitting down… lying down.

Too many beers out on the golf course, maybe? Or maybe…

Kyle called out, “Hey man, you alright in there?” No response. So he knocked loudly. “You OK in there?” Nothing. So Kyle kicked in the door.

What he found was one of the resort’s employees, passed out on the ground, in the midst of a heart attack.

We were all glad Kyle was there and took action when his fellow man was in need. What if he had just “minded his business?” Kyle was able to wake the man, who told him he thought he just “ate something bad.” Kyle said OK, then ran into the dining room and shouted out for someone to call 911.

This time, where there was smoke there actually was fire. At that evening’s dinner, I did my best to retell Kyle’s story. We all raised our glasses in honor of the evening’s hero — not the man with the most birdies, but the man who may have saved a person’s life by being a good citizen.

My dad loved retelling the story of the time we called 911 on the guy who was grilling while sitting inside his house, listening to the police scanner. Can you imagine hearing dispatch say your house is on fire when you’re sitting right there in the living room?

While I’ll never understand the man’s choice of the police scanner as entertainment for the evening — was Alf a rerun? — I’ll always remember the quick decisions my dad, and Kyle, made when they saw what they believed was someone in need.

This article is tagged with and posted in Columns

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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