It doesn’t happen every day or even every week, but it happens often enough to be on my mind. I’ll be working in the parking lot, and someone asks me, Do you have a Band-Aid?
The person asking has never seemed impoverished. The person asking has always looked–if not rich–comfortable. The vehicle is chugging along, and the people are on a road trip, after all. I suspect these people have resources. I suspect these people have greater resources than I do.
I also suspect the people who ask for Band-Aids think the company I work for has issued to me a first aid kit for use in the parking lot. This is not so! The company I work for has given me absolutely no first aid supplies. I believe this means the company I work for does not consider distribution of adhesive bandages or other first aid items part of my job. If the company I work for doesn’t expect me to hand out Band-Aids why do visitors expect it from me? (From now on, when visitors make this request, I’m going to say, No, the company I work for doesn’t provide me with any.)
I believe there are a couple of reason the company I work for doesn’t provide me with Band-Aids or other such things to give to visitors.
The first reason is probably money. The company doesn’t want to pay for first aid supplies for camp hosts to hand out for free. If the company won’t pay for something, why should I? Other camp hosts buy air fresheners for their restrooms and loan their personal blankets to cold campers, but not me. I won’t even use my tape to anchor Forest Service signs flapping in the wind. Why should I spend my minimum wage dollars on things the large corporation running the show doesn’t think are necessary? (I have bought Sharpies to write on day passes and dry erase markers to write on the campground’s plastic reservation signs because the washable crayons my boss supplied me with turned out to be useless. I spent my money on those items to make my own life easier.)
I suspect the second reason the company I work for doesn’t provide me with first aid supplies to hand out is because of liability issues. I’m pretty sure handing a bleeding person a bandage does not constitute practicing medicine without a license, but that doesn’t mean some yo-yo won’t try to sue anyway. If the company I work for thinks it’s best not to get involved, why should I? (Well, yes, because sometimes getting involved is the right thing to do. And I would get involved if it seemed necessary and right under certain conditions.) I’m not a trained first responder. I haven’t taken a first aid class since the last century. I have not been advised on the proper distribution of Band-Aids. Would the company I work for support me if I did flub up first aid to a visitor and said visitor decided to sue?
Honestly, the main reason I don’t want to provide Band-Aids to any stranger who asks is because I don’t remember being appointed Band-Aid provider to the world. Folks on road trips–particularly a camping trip–should have a few adhesive bandages (or better yet, a comprehensive first aid kit) with them. It’s not like folks who ask me for Band-Aids are living out of backpacks with limited storage space. (Any backpackers who ask me for Band-Aids can have as many of mine as they need.) There’s plenty of room in most vehicles for plenty of adhesive bandages.
Let’s take some personal responsibility folks. Throw a few bandages in the glove box.