It all started with the sound of a crash so loud and so close that my Philly instincts forced me to rubberneck and walk outside to look. It sounded too close for comfort but too close not to look. Anyone would've looked if they heard a massive crash outside their residence and I was no different. Maybe I should've peeked out the window and stayed inside, but that's not who I am. I see someone in need and I help. Besides, it was 2 A.M. on a random Tuesday night, so what was all the commotion about? The harrowing crash was most likely a car accident and I should've minded my business, but I'm a Philly guy and we rubberneck everything you can imagine. This was no different. This sudden crash was close, just outside my door to be precise. I opened my home door and unknowingly walked into a bloody nightmare that would change my life.
I venture outside like a curious kid on Christmas to discover the crash scene. It looks like the car missed a turn, jumped upon the curb, and proceeded head-on into a street light. Upon closer look, I see the driver alone and rummaging through contents in the car. I imagine they might be injured or need help since they crashed directly into a pole and could be injured or in a state of confusion. My instincts enable me to quickly dial 911 to get this person help. This late in the night and you can't be too sure what's going on. If I can get them help, then I will gladly do it. That's all I ever do is help others, so this is no different.
A police operator answers and I say "hello, I need to report a one-car accident and..." a man approaches me with a phone in his hand. I inform him that he doesn't have to call 911 because I already notified them.
The driver of the car is then removing the license plate from the vehicle he crashed and asks, "did you call 911?"
I reply yes and it seems like a normal state of discourse between two strangers. It even becomes mildly friendly at one point as the driver of the crashed car thanks me and shakes my hand. I feel good about myself for a split second. I feel helpful, useful, and happy to assist this complete stranger who just wrecked his car.
Then he shoots me. A handshake and a bullet for my time. I was so happy to be of help and thanked by getting shot in the back of my neck. The bullet traveled along the right side of my face and fractured my jaw, cheek, orbital, and sinus. The bullet exited the area of my face above my left eye.
At this point, I don't know that I've been shot. There's blood everywhere possibly spilling out of my head like a faucet left on overnight. I imagine I've been hit with something, perhaps a hard object like a pipe or a bat, but I have no clue that I've been shot in the head.
Things become a bit blurry and now I'm in the ambulance hearing the EMT inform me that it looks like I've been shot. News to me. I'm covered in blood and was just trying to help someone who crashed their car. They should've been in the ambulance, not me. This is insanity.
I'm being rushed to the hospital and the cops have my wife. They take her with them to find the suspect. He made it about three blocks before the police picked him up - license plate in hand and gun in his pocket.
Later we find out that the man who shot me in the head was responsible for a murder just a few blocks from the crash site. He most likely shot me because he didn't want to get caught for his alleged involvement in a previous murder spree.
Two days later I'm still in the hospital being prepped for surgery that will last five hours and take 500 stitches to close my open wounds. All that helpfulness turned into one heck of a medical procedure that landed me in the ICU. Seven days later I'm sent home as a 55-year-old with potential hearing and vision problems that may not ever heal properly.
This is what happens to people who help others?
A 55-year-old man's his life is permanently changed because he wanted to help someone in need, not knowing the person in need was a potential murderer. It's not only his life that changes, but also the lives of his wife, three daughters and two grandsons. His middle daughter is due to give birth to our first granddaughter any day. He's thoughtfully thankful that the blackness under both eyes has simmered and the stitches were removed so now he can see the beautiful granddaughter he's been waiting for.
While he waits for his precious first granddaughter to be born, face blackened from the bullet that ripped through him, he remains positive. Negativity isn't an option. He would do it thing again and help someone who appears to be in need. That's just who he is. He's Kevin M. Neibauer and a little bullet wasn't stopping him from being the helpful guy who would do anything for anyone.
But then the hospital bills that arrived later and one glance can make one squeamish. You can only imagine the cost of the procedures and ambulance bill that was accrued simply because he helped a crash victim-turned-attempted-murderer.
Why can't the bills can't be sent to the shooter? It's his fault. Shouldn't he be responsible?
Is that any way to treat a good Samaritan?
Kevin has a GoFundMe set up. If you'd like to donate and help with his bills, then please do so. Pay it forward so we can increase the amount of kindness in our world.