“God save us from people who mean well.” — Vikram Seth

The above quote sums up my feelings after reading the article about Robert Haynes, the 82-year-old South Sister climber who was “rescued” while descending the mountain. Despite his repeated assertions that he was fine and would make it down, he was bullied into accepting a helicopter rescue.

When does interference into another person’s life become badgering or bullying? Our lives are increasingly regulated; wilderness permits, parking permits, boating permits and so on.

The “rescuers” were lucky Haynes is a nice guy. Others, feeling the pressure from people taking on the role of “helpers” might not be so accommodating.

The whole situation smacks of ageism. What right do other people have to question one’s physical and mental capabilities after being assured that the person is OK and knows what he or she is doing? Just because someone is walking slowly doesn’t mean he or she is in trouble and needs to be “saved.” It’s insulting to anyone, older or not. Once I say I’m fine, I should be left alone to continue my journey. Oh well, I found another use for hiking poles: to keep self-righteous do-gooders away.

Don Minney