Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Sickos turning society against the good guys

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Fear of being misjudged has men rethinking helping others.
Most men out there are just trying to be the best individuals, partners and fathers they can be. Photo / Getty Images
Most men out there are just trying to be the best individuals, partners and fathers they can be. Photo / Getty Images

There are some truly horribly sick men out there. Monsters who do terrible things to the people we should be looking after. These bad guys get a lot of coverage. So much so you can start to think that there are more evil males in our communities than there are.

By far the vast majority of us men are nice people. Most guys are just trying to do their best in life. We get out and give cars a push when others break down, we hold doors open for the next person coming through, we pick things up when our fellow humans drop them.

I was involved in an incident recently and I feel so strongly about it that, this week, I'm going to put the jokes aside and talk about it because I believe it raises an important issue.

So what happened? Well, I walked in to a public bathroom find a 6-year-old jumping up and down in front of the urinal. He was pointing at his groin and yelping "help, too tight, I'm going to wee".

He was wearing overalls with a big zipped and buttoned-up jacket. The stressed out little guy couldn't get them off in time and he needed to go. I knew I had to act quickly or some poor parent would be cleaning up a mess.

Helping this kid was the right thing to do. But sadly, I didn't help straight away. I paused to think about the ramifications. We were completely alone. Should I be helping a 6-year-old kid I don't know undress in a bathroom? If someone walks in are they going to think me a pervert? These things ran through my head. They shouldn't have. I should feel comfortable to help someone in need. But they did.

Do I protect myself from possible hysterical accusations or do I do the right thing and help a kid in need?

Conundrum!

In the end I couldn't stand by and let that little guy wee in his pants. That would've been insane.

Instead I carefully and respectfully helped him off with his jacket and overalls.

He rushed to the urinal and everything was fine. Disaster averted. However, as I placed his coat on the sink, the mum poked her head in the door.

... men are too scared to work with kids. It's too dicey an area for them. As a result children miss out on good, solid male role models.

She looked at me strangely, shouted for her boy to come over, rudely grabbed the jacket and marched him out, pausing only to turn back and give me a second evil look.

She wasn't speaking English so I don't know what she said. But I am pretty certain it wasn't "thank you for helping my boy out of a potentially embarrassing situation".

It brassed me off. I came to the aid of her child.

Now, somehow, I was in trouble for it. Because there are a few sickos out there, this lady thought it was okay to be rude to me.

The assumption that half the population are potentially evil has to be a problem for society.

Look how few primary or preschool male teachers there are these days. I reckon it's because men are too scared to work with kids. It's too dicey an area for them. As a result children miss out on good, solid male role models.

Clearly there's the odd pervert out there doing terrible things. We read about them all the time. But there aren't that many. Bad stuff generally happens within families. Not from helpful strangers in bathrooms. You've got to have some faith in your fellow man.

Good people do what they can for others in need.

Sadly though, if I am ever in this particular situation again I'll probably tell the kid I can't help. Better that than being treated like the bad guy when you're the good guy.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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