Imagining yourself the hero in a tricky situation and saving a total stranger is a fantasy everyone’s had at one point. It’s difficult not to put yourself in the imaginary shoes of a hero, but what about when that moment does come, how would you respond? This is the exact question John Quinones and the crew of “What Would You Do?” (WWYD) sought to answer.
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In this episode, a teenage girl toting a guitar case is approached by a much older man inside Singer Hill cafe in Portland, Oregon. During their exchange, the girl, Meg, reveals to the older man, Tyler, that she is skipping school today. Tyler then questions her about her guitar case and says that he is in a band and has a full studio at his house before suggesting she come back there with him to “jam.”
Meg hesitates. “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t really…. know you.” A father and his fully grown daughter overhear the conversation and Meg’s apprehension when the predator propositions her to come back to his apartment. When Tyler walks away, they seize the opportunity to advise a very clearly lost and confused Meg.
“As a Dad, I’d say don’t do it,” the man says, and his daughter adds “down the hill, there is another coffee shop.” When Tyler returns, the couple is quick to run interference on the predator’s plans as the daughter shows Meg the map to where the other coffee shop is located before offering to take Meg there. But the situation escalates as Tyler insists Meg come with him by grabbing onto her guitar case.
The father-daughter duo refuses to back down, and the predator eventually slinks away, allowing everyone to breathe a collective sigh of relief. John Quinones and the WWYD crew then interviews the two to get a better idea of what was going through their heads as the situation unfolded.
“What was going through your mind?” he asks. “That he was going to rape her,” the daughter answers with a cracked voice through painful sobs. The crew puts several other crowds through the same test with some mixed results as some onlookers allow Meg to leave the restaurant with Tyler the Predator.
In the interview, those who allowed her to leave all spoke with tones of regret peppered with remorse. They all said the same thing: they wanted and wished they could’ve done more but were unsure of what their next course of action would be.
Those who watched Meg leave learned the hard way that being the hero isn’t as easy as their imaginations make it seem. We all would like to think we’re capable of physically stopping a predator if the circumstances called for it, but the harsh reality is that sometimes we succumb to fear, apprehension, and indecisiveness. Regardless of the outcome, it’s comforting to know that everyone at least put forth an effort to stop this predator because it shows that, no matter what, people are willing to speak up during a potentially dangerous situation.
See the full social experiment below: