‘No Good Deed’ … How Did We Get Here?

Written by Pauline Wolak on March 7, 2013

MH900424350Over a very chilling seven minutes, three different people are involved in a phone call with a 911 operator. The third person to take the phone, claiming to be a nurse, refuses to perform CPR. She even goes as far as to complain to a co-worker that the dispatcher is “yelling” at her. As the call progresses, the dispatcher becomes increasingly panicked, clearly concerned for this woman’s life.

She begs the caller to flag down a stranger or ask a visitor to help. The call ends with emergency personnel arriving at the scene.

As we now know, Lorriane Bayless died. We don’t know if CPR would have saved her life. And her family seems to support the assisted living facility, placing no blame with them.

Why, though? That seems to be the biggest question of all. Why didn’t the three people involved in the 911 call offer to perform CPR? Why didn’t they do everything in their power to save Mrs. Bayless? What compelled them to refuse? Company policy, perhaps? Just following the rules?

As ridiculous as it sounds, it could be as simple as that. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. After all, no good deed goes unpunished.

In Indianapolis, the store manager of a Kroger attempted to thwart a suspected armed robber after Jeremy Atkinson takes an unarmed store “security guard” hostage. Using his own gun, Elijah “Levi” Elliott, sees his chance and shoots. Atkinson is killed and the life of hostage Christine Nelson is spared.

If only the story had ended there.

First, Mr. Elliott resigned from his position, noting a violation of corporate policy by carrying his handgun (legally registered) to work. Then Mr. Elliot and Kroger were both named in a lawsuit filed by the mother of thug Atkinson. Her claim? The manager “owed Atkinson a duty to exercise reasonable care for his safety” while in the store. Yes, you read that right. Even as he was robbing the store, he was owed “safety.”

And still the story does not end there.

A second lawsuit has been filed against Mr. Elliot and Kroger. This time by the security guard who’s life he saved. Nelson claims she suffered “extreme mental anguish and emotional distress” in witnessing the death of Jeremy Atkinson.

Both cases are currently pending.

In Florida, a teenager was suspended last week after he stopped a school shooting by tackling an armed student and taking his gun. As he was pointing it at another student. The Lee County School District claims the “emergency suspension” was issued as a result of the student being involved in “incident with a weapon.”

No good deed…

In Virginia, Air Force vet and (now former) AutoZone employee Devin McLean went into action mode to save the life of his manager. As the manager was being held at gunpoint, Mr. McLean retrieved the gun in his vehicle. He scared off the robber known as the “Fake Beard Bandit.” That particular robber is suspected in at least 30 robberies. As a result, Mr. McLean was given a big thank you by AutoZone.

He was fired for violating their “zero tolerance” policy regarding weapons.

Is the decision by the assisted living facility making more sense now? Can you afford to be fired for “doing the right thing?” I’d like to think we’d all say yes, but these stories give us pause. And it also makes me wonder.

When did doing the right thing start costing so much?


Pauline is a proud wife and mother of three. When she isn't being the world's greatest Girl Friday, she is volunteers her time as a school librarian and athletic director. Pauline enjoys football, politics, good beer, and arguing with anyone. She's a devout pro-life Catholic. Pauline believes in the 1st Amendment and uses it on a daily basis, most notably to ambush unsuspecting family members in political debate! You can find her work here at Clash and at redknucklepolitics.com. Follow her on twitter at @MiStateFan.