Saturday Night- Fremantle Street Chaplains
The first real incident occurred
directly opposite the Newport Hotel near closing time. Myself and another Chaplain were sitting praying and
talking on the bench opposite the pub. We had just discussed how Fremantle can appear
quiet but can flare up in a moment's notice. Part of this due to the many spiritual
undercurrents that Fremantle has. As a seaport Fremantle is like Corinth, many conflicting ideas merge from around the world, from hippies and backpackers to Italian Catholics, Fremantle is a spiritual melting pot. No sooner than finishing our conversation we heard
a crashing sound and looked up to see a young woman spin around on her high
heels as if in the air to then land crashing onto the road, about two meres from
She had been hit by a car.
Immediately we moved forward and surrounded
her. I reassured the young lady thankfully she was conscious and breathing. She could also
talk. I was most concerned about spinal damage and so told her not to move, then
placed my Street Chaplain jacket over her bare legs. There was about 50 onlookers.
Bouncers ran over and we informed them to ring ambulance. Some people tried to
take her arm and I was quite forceful in telling them to move back, telling all I
am a nurse and that she is not to be moved in case she has spinal damage. Then I
would speak quietly to the girl again reassuring her. Some bystander of about 25
came over saying he was a doctor. I told him I am a nurse and you have been
drinking so you are no good to me. Go away. The man seemed confronted (by the truth)
and so stayed back. As always most out on the streets that are not part of any particular
helping agency are more annoyance than good. They may mean well, but more often
than not can get in the way.
Police came and allowed myself and the
other Chaplain to manage the situation. Again it was very good interdisciplinary contact, as all were seeing
Chaplains helping and in control. The ambulance arrived and took over, taking her to
hospital. The young girl thanked us for our kindness and that we were there with her during it all.
If we had not been present I am sure the outcome would have been much worse. God
certainly had us at the right place at the right time. Later on I contemplated
the reality of a human being who had been hit by a car and then landing at your feet, at the
feet of a Street Chaplain that happens to be a nurse? I felt annoyed the following
day that few seem to see the reality of such being God's doing and not
coincidence, karma or luck. The sheer possibility of this happening is staggering when you think about it. Even the police were amazed at where she landed as they saw the whole incident on closed circuit tv! (Again God's doing).
15 minutes later
outside Hungry Jacks (a burger restaurant) a fight erupted between two small groups of men. Both
chaplains intervened as police were not present yet. We tried to keep the men apart
however at one stage one man shoved another into the restaurant window, cracking the
glass. Thankfully no punches were thrown and both myself and the other chaplain were right in
the middle of the action when police came and broke the men apart forming two groups .
Police took our details for both incidences and I sensed we gained their respect
at being part of the solution. Including how we had stayed with one officer as he
questioned three men.The two
chaplains forming his backup until more officers arrived. The Senior Sgt spoke with
us and good relations were built upon.
Both incidences reaffirmed
how working in Fremantle means
maintaining spiritual awareness, prayer and being vigilant. A lesson from God.
I also felt God gave me direct
personal experience/tuition as I move my own career toward the Emergency Department. Last night I felt like I was in one on the streets. God's Emergency Department.