ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Would you help someone if you saw them in need?
Tuesday, a couple traveling through our area saw two girls in trouble and helped save them according to state police.
But elsewhere, a disabled man in need of rescue was left all alone.
In Philadelphia, a blind man was attacked and multiple people passed by without doing anything
It's called the bystander effect; when no one offers help to a person in danger if others are around.
We wondered if values in the Valley are different from those in the city, but according to Dr. Jamie Kurtz, a psychology professor at JMU, it's not that simple.
"When we hear news stories about people who don't intervene, we think those people, what is wrong with them? I would have done it. I would have stepped in; but the fact is many of us wouldn't have," said Kurtz.
She said getting help is all about location.
"You are more likely to get help if there aren't a lot of people around, and in a big group it takes a strong individual to rise above the social pressure and say I am going to intervene in this situation," said Kurtz.
Which is why the rest stop nestled off Interstate 81 in Rockingham County may have been the best spot for two little girls who needed help.
The girls were spotted by someone on Tuesday who called police saying she saw two girls crying being put in the back of a U-Haul truck.
Sgt. Frank Pyanoe with Virginia State Police said it only took one good Samaritan.
"Interstate rest areas are alienated. We can't be there 24/7, so it is important if citizens observe something not right to not hesitate and call state police," said Pyanoe.
If no one said anything Tuesday, the truck would have taken off.
"It could have turned out much different, the children could have traveled all the way to Massachusetts in the back of that truck," said Pyanoe.
Kurtz said if you ever find yourself in a situation needing rescue, point someone out in the crowd and say, "I need your help."
It draws their attention towards you and alerts the person that he or she may be the only one who can assist you.
In Philadelphia, police did identify the suspect and are working to track him down.
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