Sometimes your conscience gets the better of you. Moshe had just returned home, exhausted after a particularly grueling day at work. His wife heated up his food for him and told him to eat even if a call came in; he hadn’t eaten since morning. The weary man nodded gratefully and sat down at the table. Then his walkie talkie crackled to life and alerted him to an elderly woman having severe difficulty breathing.

For a moment, your partner was torn. The ambulance was available; it wasn’t all up to him. But with the United Hatzalah ambucycle, he could go on side streets and then it was only 20 seconds away. Your dedicated partner gave a half-smile at his wife and excused himself as he ran out the door. If it was his savta, he would go, and for someone else’s savta, he would go too.

united hatzalah

The sound of labored breathing met him even on the stairs leading up to the apartment. Inside, an elderly woman struggled to breathe. Moshe administered oxygen and crouched down beside her. He could see the terror in her eyes. Your caring partner took her hand and told her gently, “I know it’s hard for you to breathe. I’ve come to help you. I’m a United Hatzalah medic. Try relax and breathe deeply. I’ve come here to help.”

Some of the fear left the elderly woman’s eyes. She squeezed his hand with a strength that shocked him. She nodded at him in thanks, and then she managed to say, “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness. The ambulance crew had just arrived and she was taken to hospital in critical condition, sedated and with breathing assistance.

Moshe’s voice was choked as he told us this story. He was so grateful that he had responded to the call. He was so grateful that he had been part of something so real, of human care and kindness and giving. Sometimes you need to listen to that inner voice.