Question About Etiquette
I was running through the city, passing Kenyans like they were standing still (as I do), when I *accidentally* kicked a pigeon. I don't kick pigeons on purpose. I'm not a savage.
The pigeon went flying, struggled to right itself, and ended up hitting a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. It didn't hurt him, but it definitely startled him and made him keel over on his side. (He did not spill his change however. I feel that this is an important mitigating circumstance.) I felt bad for having triggered this course of events, but a) I didn't do it on purpose, and b) how can I be responsible for a kicked pigeon's trajectory? At some point post-kick, the pigeon becomes responsible for its own flight path.
I didn't know how to react. For one thing, I was running, so before I could process all of this, I was a half block away. For another, was it my fault? I mean, I said "sorry!" over my shoulder, but I have been known to apologize to people who step on my foot. You know, for putting my foot where I should have known their foot would soon be. So it's not like I have a problem taking responsibility.
But seriously, was it my fault?
Here's the question: What is the proper response when you are running in the city, and you accidentally kick a pigeon, and it hits a homeless person, and the homeless person falls over?
How has this issue evaded the notice of Emily Post or Miss Manners? There really ought to be a place to go for answers to questions like this. Should I have stopped and helped get the guy back to upright? Should I have offered him money? What if I was running (I was) and didn't have any money (I didn't) so I could not offer monetary compensation? Am I an asshole? (Because of this, I mean.)