I do my training runs as an out and back on a local trail. It’s safe, pretty, and easy to get in the mileage.
I was just about to my turnaround point when I passed an older man in a light jacket laying curled up on the ground in a pile of leaves. I looked at him as I ran past and saw him moving. Okay, not a dead body. That’s good.
I stopped and asked him if he was okay. He just grunted at me. So it was a response, but not much of one. Looking at this guy, he was relatively well dressed, though not really dressed for the cool weather. We do have a number of homeless people in the area, but they typically have their things with them. This guy was just laying there with nothing else around.
I ran on to the next major intersection and debated. Finally, I called the local police station who directed me to call 911. So I did, and they said they would be sending an ambulance and asked me to wait so I could point out the guy.
As I waited, another runner came up and stopped to talk. She was the first person who stopped, and since I had been standing there, at least five others had glanced down at this guy and continued on. I told her that I had called, and she asked if I minded if she waited with me because she was also worried about the guy. (I think she had asked him if he was okay and got no response.)
So we waited and she helped me flag down the ambulance, and we watched from afar. The paramedic team talked to the guy for a while, who looked up, sat up, and finally even stood up. So that was a good sign. Finally, the team left and the guy remained on a park bench. Turns out he was just enjoying a nice nap in the sun. In the 40 degree weather. The paramedics agreed that we did the right thing and warned the guy that if he did this again, he would likely get the paramedics called on him once again. Because let’s be honest – it’s not normal to just lay down in a pile of leaves next to a trail to take a nap. If he had been laying on a picnic blanket, that would have been different, but this was just odd.
So the other runner and I high-fived and resumed our run, opting to not run past the guy, just in case he was mad at us.
Even though it turned out to be nothing, I’m still glad I called, and the paramedics were very careful to tell us that we did the right thing by calling. I would hope that if I were lying on the side of a trail that someone would call an ambulance for me if I wasn’t responding.
So all was right in the world, my run just got extended by about 30 minutes. But I’m so glad that was the worst part of it. Well, and some guy got his nap interrupted.