The Goldman Sachs Samaritan

A gray three year-old SUV blows a tire, skids into the break down lane, then flips over twice. Its four passengers are smothered in air bags. There is silence.

A driver who witnessed the entire incident from a hundred yards behind pulls over, checks out the situation, shrugs, then gets back on the highway and drives away. He is late for a speech he is scheduled to deliver on “Living Well is the Be All and End All.”

A second motorist, on the opposite side of the road, pulls over as well. Observing the accident scene and the first driver’s actions, she also pulls back on the highway, certain that events will work themselves out without any assistance on her part.

A third driver arrives. She maneuvers her vehicle as close to the accident scene as seems prudent. She is the Goldman Sachs Samaritan,

Knowing every crisis is an opportunity, the Goldman Sachs Samaritan’s first call is to her lawyer. Following a brief conversation regarding potential liability (during which the Goldman Sachs Samaritan’s lawyer dispatches a junior associate to the accident scene), the GSS formulates a plan which in the long run should both benefit not only herself but, if they are lucky, the accident victims as well. The GSS’s second call is to a private ambulance company three towns away in which the GSS holds a minority interest. She is assured an ambulance will be dispatched to the scene as soon as one becomes available and the accident victims will be transported to a for-profit hospital in the next county where the GSS sits on the board-of-directors.

The GSS looks up from her phone and notes steady puffs of smoke emanating from the unfortunate vehicle in the ditch.

Another short call to a tame local newspaper reporter will lead to proper documentation of her heroic act. Nothing like free publicity for the GSS’s businesses and political causes.

The Goldman Sachs Samaritan visualizes how, after the private ambulance and press arrive, she will be photographed pulling the accident victims from their car. The ambulance service’s logo will be prominently displayed as she delivers the unfortunates into the caring hands of the private medical system representatives. You can’t buy advertising like that. She closes her eyes to rest, awaiting her fellow team members’ arrival. “Crisis Can Be A Profit Center Too!”

While the GSS is getting her ducks in a row, a battered Toyota pulls in behind her. The mature woman behind the wheel also assesses the situation and immediately calls 911. The emergency operator assures her an ambulance, police, and other appropriate first responders will soon arrive on the scene. The Socialist Samaritan makes her way down to the overturned vehicle and helps the bruised passengers out of their vehicle, just as smoke begins pouring from the engine.

As the county ambulance, police and tow truck drive away from the accident scene, the Goldman Sachs Samaritan is awakened by the sound of someone rapping on her window. She looks about and wonders where the crashed car and its passengers have gone. The private ambulance driver and the tame reporter are both screaming at the GSS about her sending them out here for no good reason. The Goldman Sachs Samaritan screams back.

No good deal goes unpunished.