Anonymous asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 1 week ago

Will we ever be able to shake hands again?

I will relate a story from the mid 1980's. I lived in a town about 10 miles outside of NYC on the Hudson River. I rode the railroad to work every day.

About 9am I am on the platform, waiting for the train. A woman, in her early to mid 40's was near me. Ranting under her breath and crying.

She had experienced divorce, job loss, job rejections and other disappointments I found out later... 

I though she was going to jump down and touch the 3rd rail and get electrocuted or struck by a train. There are 4 sets of tracks and a variety of trains are always heading inbound or outbound at these hours.

I held out my hand to shake hands saying "hi, my name is Peter..." She didn't respond, so I gestured towards the bench... "there's a open bench to sit on, would you like to sit?" She did respond to this and sat down. I again extended my hand and introduced myself, asking her name. This time she shook hands and told me her name. I continued to gently hold her hand, but would have squeezed it if she tried head towards the tracks. She held my hand still. Another passenger mouthed "9-1-1?". I nodded yes. When the train pulled in, she squeezed my hand hard. I told her we could sit and talk... I was hoping for the cops or ambulance to get there. We chatted a few minutes longer. They came and she went with them to the ER. About 2 months later, I saw her on the platform and we chatted. She thanked me for saving her life. Indeed, suicide was on her mind.

I saved a life. I'd do it again.

7 Answers

  • 1 week ago
    Favourite answer

    Quite an experience, that!  In a case like that, you might still shake hands or hold somebody's hand, maybe even create some distraction with the sanitizer maybe.  

    We will be able to shake hands again.  I expect people may not do it quite as often as before.

  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    1 week ago

    you might, especially if you look for her on the net, you could find her that way

  • 1 week ago

    That's a lovely story, but it's nothing to do with Etiquette. It's a Health question. Click on Edit and move it to Health.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 week ago

    Under the circumstances you describe most people wouldn't let a virus with a 95+% survivability stop them from intervening to help a suicidal person. So you could do that right now if the situation presented itself. 

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 week ago

    I hope so... and, even more than/ beyond handshaking in itself,we are to be there for each other in each and everyone's dire moments,finding a sound and effective , either verbal or non- verbal way to say:'' chin up! don't break down! go on with your life and rebuild it!

  • Anonymous
    1 week ago

    "Will we ever be able to shake hands again?"

    First of all, I hope not.  I don't want anybody's nasty flesh-eating bacteria getting on me.  It's always been a totally rational concern of mine and I've been enjoying the pandemic for that reason.

    "Ranting under her breath and crying...I though she was going to jump down and touch the 3rd rail and get electrocuted or struck by a train."

    Second of all, bold of you to assume she was considering her own demise rather than plotting the murder of all annoying people and placing you at the top of the list.

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  • 1 week ago

    maybe you can look her up online and find her, ive wondered if i ever saved a life by answering questions here about suicide

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