Dubai Consumer Mirror

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"For !*^# sake, Do something"

I was at Mall of the Emirates running some errands last evening when I received a call. Knowing it was one that demanded concentration, I stood on the side next to a wall and away from the human traffic.

In front of me was an escalator. I noticed a young lady, standing at the bottom of the escalator and it seemed that her Abaya got caught in the mechanical steps.

I kept looking at her as she stood there for almost good minute and I was thinking "OK, she will free herself any moment now.... any moment."

That didn't happen and she started struggling between trying to pull the end of her Abaya out of the escalator teeth-like edge and holding on to it so that it doesn't fall off her body or pull her down to the ground.

I was thinking: "okay, any minute now.... someone will help her.. someone should notice by now.." By then, I completely lost focus on the ongoing phone call.

Then I noticed that people were casually passing by from behind her, seeing that she is stuck, basically doing nothing to help and walking away.

A couple of guys slowed down but kept their distance with no one attempting to break her free. I think the fact that she was wearing a Abaya intimated them.

I looked up and spotted a security guard standing at the upper end. He obviously did not notice all the action downstairs.

I yelled: "Hey security! Security!"

When you yell like that, in a rather echo-y mall, a lot will pay attention and a lot did. Except the security guy who was basically about 10 feet away from me.

It took 2 or 3 loud yells to grab his attention.

"STOP the escalator!", I said when he looked in my direction.

He gave me a brief "WTF" look and looked the other way. I assumed he either didn't hear or understand me. I presumed the latter.


He looked again, saw me pointing to the lady who's Abaya is now starting to shred, but still stuck. He slammed the big red emergency stop button and rushed down to help the damsel in distress and cut her loose.

I got back to my phone call.


  • I does intimidate me to approach women in local attire (Abayaas). I can never anticipate what kind of reaction i would get from them if i asked for directions or something .. But in this case it was a women who obviously needed help. Good thing you were around to inform that sleeping guard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

  • It is good that dopey finely woke up and helped.

    As for assisting an abiya wearing lady, I too can understand the hesitation people may have. Several times over the years I have received a negative reaction for basic well intentioned actions which makes me "once bitten twice shy" - sad but true.

    By Blogger Dave, at July 13, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

  • Its very interesting to read (and see) these reactions. It shows there are the gaps between locals and expats that are larger than one think.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM  

  • It has nothing to do with expats or locals. I doubt local men would not hesitate either to interact with a local women.

    It is no surprise, local woman keep their distance and are unapproachable, even for the most innocent requests or intentions.

    By Anonymous expatman, at July 13, 2010 at 2:10 PM  

  • It is funny how you say that people were passing her with out stopping to help, whether she is wearing an abaya or not. very strange. what happened to all the good samaritans?

    By Anonymous Vikas, at July 13, 2010 at 4:03 PM  

  • I am not too surprised people weren't helping her, I would be apprehensive too. When I went to visit my bank, I got to witness an Asian guy being physically assaulted by a local lady. Apparently, he had unintentionally stepped on the lady's Abaya. I now make sure I maintain a distance of 5 ft when I am next to a local lady.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 13, 2010 at 4:06 PM  

  • Not sure why you cared. I wouldn't. Is it your job to help her? Is she your sister?

    Serves her right for being stupid enough not to watch her abaya.

    Hi btw! You can welcome me back now!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 14, 2010 at 12:02 AM  

  • The abaya may have only accentuated what is already a primary human trait in social psychology: One is less likely to help someone in distress in the presence of a crowd than solitary. It is only socially natural that people mentally hope someone else would take the responsibility of helping, until someone does actually jump in to help.

    Take you, for example. You have been observing her in distress for a few good minutes till you took the action and called someone else to help. Now revisit the scenario and assume it was only you in the mall and her abaya got stuck. I doubt you will be still attending to the phone call for that long and would rather help her instantly, yourself.

    Chivalry is inversely proportional to the number of potential chivalrous people.

    By Blogger KJ, at July 14, 2010 at 8:36 AM  

  • Your amateur psychoanalysis is only partially correct, the rest is based on presumptuous pretenses, making it a flawed one. Proximity plays an important role here. meaning, people who are closest to the event or situation, are most likely expected to act/react. Of course, that goes proportional with the number of people.

    And that is what made the whole situation strange to me. Many people were closer to her than I was. Some stood there, others passing by from behind her and going on their way.

    If it was me on that escalator, I would have reacted immediately - not waited for someone to come from a distance to decide to do something ...

    بالعربي ... لا تفلسف كتير الله يرض عليك :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at July 14, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

  • Whatever makes you chivalrous, Mo ;)

    By Blogger KJ, at July 14, 2010 at 9:53 AM  

  • Chivalry - what a lovely education for single men, wherever they are.

    Hey, Mr. Consumer, how about your BB woes as a topic?

    By Blogger i*maginate, at August 6, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

  • You really attracted me by your beautiful manner.:)

    By Anonymous mubawab, at October 23, 2010 at 5:31 AM  

  • Just found the blog. Where did you go. It's November already?
    Re the abaya-escalator woman.
    Interesting the first few comments say they don't want to help a woman in an abaya because they are so unapproachable. After all, pressing the emergency button is far from intrusive to her personal space. My 3 year old does it twice a week - he would have done it for her without a blink.

    By Blogger Unknown, at November 4, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

  • OMG!! that is awful! whats wrong with people?!
    it is intimidating for some people to even look at women wearing Abbayas and i have no idea why! we are so nice and friendly ;)

    i enjoyed reading this ,, thanks!

    By Blogger Iman Nawfal, at November 27, 2010 at 1:38 AM  

  • Aah Professoré
    Always the gentleman.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 9, 2010 at 4:34 AM  

  • I wouldn't have helped. Saying I could do without interacting with women in local attire is the understatement of the decade.

    It's not my fault, they make themselves so. (unapproachable)

    By Blogger Ahmed Samir, at December 27, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

  • Salams Professore

    I missed your GSOH!
    Good to be here
    Drop in when you have time

    By Blogger kaya, at May 16, 2011 at 7:29 AM  

  • Hello Dear,
    this dana from akleh website, i would like to contact you , this is my e-mail

    By Blogger dana, at July 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM  

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