DIARY OF A CABBIE : July 05, AU Edition

When a night out goes horribly wrong, it can leave scars that might never heal
On a recent Friday night I carried a fifty-something fella from the North Shore down to Sutherland. After a day on the grog at a convention junket he was wasted. Yet not so wasted he couldn’t relate a chilling tale involving his son. It was a tale I readily identified with, as his ‘boy’ was around the same age as mine.
My passenger recounted how several years ago his then 18-year-old son was in the City on a night out with some mates. Late in the evening, one of his friends became involved in a scuffle outside a Hungry Jack’s. On moving to help his mate, my passenger’s son was stabbed some ten times around the body. In an instant he was bleeding profusely, his life literally draining down the gutter. News of what happened came at 4:30 am, when the local police knocked on the door after fruitless attempts by the hospital to contact him and his wife.
Despite losing litres of blood, the boy recovered. What a guy. The assailant was apprehended, char- ged, convicted, jailed for a few years, then released – only to knife someone else and return to jail. What a waste.

In relating this tale, my passenger had obliquely voiced his concern over his son’s ongoing fight for justice. The boy was still in court, seven years later, pursuing a matter of principle relating to the attack. After advising the boy to finally put the saga behind him and get on with life, the kid emphatically responded, ‘Dad, the physical scars may have healed, but in my head it feels so raw I’ll never get over it’. My passenger looked across at me and shaking his head said quietly, ‘It’s killing me to imagine what he feels’.
My passenger had been a knockabout bloke most of his life, growing up in the tough inner-west of Sydney. By his own admission he’d made many mistakes over the years. And despite his age he insisted how, much to his embarrassment, he often felt the same hopes and vitality as that of his son. So much so he couldn’t wait for the arrival of the first grandchild. A sentiment we both shared, and had a good laugh at our encroaching dotage. It was a warm exchange on which we parted.
One week later, I came across an item in the Daily Telegraph entitled, ‘Leave people to their peril’:
Citizens are under no obligation to rescue strangers in peril, a court had ruled in dismissing an appeal by a man stabbed after he sought sanctuary in a fast-food restaurant.
Eron Broughton was out in Sydney’s CBD early in 1998 when he and three friends were threatened by a knife-wielding gang…they sought refuge in a Hungry Jack’s restaurant, asking a security guard to call police.
But the guard pushed them back into the street where Mr Broughton was stabbed 10 times. He sought damages in the District Court in 2003, claiming the guard’s negligent or reckless actions led to his injuries…The then 24-year-old lost his claim after Judge James Black found the chain did not owe Mr Broughton a duty of care.
Mr Broughton appealed the verdict but it was dismissed yesterday by the Court of Appeal.
This boy’s personal struggle brought to mind something I heard recently. A terminally ill patient had commented to his mentor, ‘Sometimes it’s best to simply give up’. I interpreted this to mean that in life, you must pick your battles.
This advice seemed especially pertinent to my distraught passenger and his son’s long road to recovery. For them, those grandkids can’t come soon enough.
Read more of Adrian the Cabbie at www.cablog.com.au