Psychology students have all learnt about the bystander effect, the phenomenon which states one is less likely to help someone in need if other people are nearby.
And a Maltese man recently witnessed this in practice at a popular restaurant as he happened to stumble upon a foreign national getting cheated in full view of people.
The man, whose identity is being kept anonymous, said he went into the restaurant to witness a foreign national asking for a Tallinja card behind the counter.
“The guy behind the counter sent him round the corner, then looked at me, chuckled and told me he had just taken the poor guy for a ride,” he said in a Facebook post.
“By the time I rounded the corner, I hear the second person behind the counter trying to charge the same person €30 for a fictitious Tallinja card. I intervened to be met with “hallih, kont ser nobromlu €30” while every other customer just stood there…”
He said the foreign national was confused at the situation and that his initial reaction after being told he was getting cheated was ‘but the man told me..’
However, the intervention had its desired effect as the foreigner ended up leaving the establishment with the €30 still in his pocket.
The man has since contacted the restaurant in question, which apologised and promised to take the necessary action to address this behaviour.
However, he said he was more disturbed by the ten people or so who witnessed the incident but didn’t react.
“As to everyone who witnessed this without intervening, may the next stranger you come across treat you with the respect you so obviously don’t deserve,” he said. “Maybe you will learn what being a human being is all about.”