Would you choose to sacrifice yourself to save someone else's child?

Please note how I phrased the thread title: it was not an accident. I’m asking what choice you would make intellectually, not whether you’d have the testicles (or ovaries) to follow through with the decision.

So here’s the situation. Let’s say that, through whatever fantabulous means you wish to postulate, you learn that the Norns are manipulating your life, but not absolutely controlling it. To wit: on this coming Monday morning, you will be walking down the street when a child whom you do not know will race into the path of a bus. You do not know the name of the child or any member of his family, nor do you know from which direction the child will be coming; nor have you any way to contact the bus driver or do anything to avert this tragedy over than pushing the child out of the path of the bus, which will thrust you under its wheels in its place; and you will definitely be killed.

Your choices, as I see it, are threefold:

  1. Avoid the street in question entirely that morning.
  2. Go to the street but do not intervene.
  3. Die to save the child.

What is your choice? Does the age of the child matter? (That is, whether it’s a six-month-old baby in a runaway stroller, a six-year-old little boy running after his puppy, or a sixteen-year-old irritant showing off for her girlfriend.) Also, if you could state whether you’re a parent or not and the role that plays in your decision, I’d appreciate it. (I ask that because, after all, if you let yourself be killed to save someone else’s child, you’re leaving your own an orphan)

By the way, if anyone is wondering, this poll question is inspired by a fairly recent movie

Stranger Than Fiction

so if you plan to discuss the movie in your answer, be kind and use a spoiler box.

After thinking about this, I would probably save the child’s life. It would probably annoy me that if it happened to be the teenager showing off for their gf/bf, but nonetheless I would still give my life to save a child. It’s instinct. At least for me.

Up until my kids were teenagers, I would’ve saved the child. Now I’d probably go down the street and watch the kid die.

With this knowledge beforehand, I’d probably avoid the street that day.

Is instinct really the determining criterion here?

You know the Norns are screwing with you for laughs. You know you can avoid the imminent, reflexive simply by walking down a different street. You have a couple of days warning. Do you still do it?

To answer my own question: absolutely in cases 1 & 2, probably but not certainly in case 3. It’s because I know what it’s like to lose a child; I’d not wish that on Adolf Hitler.

True. Though I would still save the child/baby/teenager. For a lot of different reasons, though manly because they have a whole future ahead of them. My life (judging if I live to at least 60) is already half over… theirs is just beginning.

I wouldn’t even choose to die to save my own child.

Seriously? Do you even HAVE children?

No doubt I would save the child’s life. I am a single male with no children.


I think I would avoid the street. I don’t like kids much (don’t have any or plan to) and I wouldn’t want to put my family through the pain of loosing a child, either. My answer would probably change if I were somewhat older, though. At 27, I still feel like I have my whole life ahead of me.

It would be irresponsible of me to voluntarily choose to leave my own children. Of course, I would have terrific guilt for the rest of my life.

That being said, if it just ‘happened’ I’d be the one out there pushing the kid out of the way, come what may. And if it was my kid, I wouldn’t hesitate.

I would do it. I’m a single woman with no kids. My answer might change if I had young children, but it’s impossible for me to say. If I elected not to save the child, in favor of my own theoretical children, it would be a selfish decision, but I’d do it anyway.

I don’t have kids, but I don’t think I could allow one to die if I could save them. I don’t know if my answer would change if I had my own kids.

I fail to see how a kids life would ever be more important to me than mine, specially not my own kid. Sorry, i kinda like myself and i’d be much happier if i kept on living.

I’d go with choice #1, because my three kids need a mom. I’d feel deep pain for the mother of the other kid, though.

Oddly, I just watched that movie today, too.

I really don’t know. I think if the situation just happened, I would probably do whatever needed doing. I am very calm in situations like that. But knowing, in advance, that it absolutely meant that my children would be left fatherless, I’m not sure what I would do. This is exactly why I don’t like silly hypothetical situations.


save the kid. i’ve been around for 40+ years, give them a chance.

No, not for one kid. But for a bus-load of kids, then yes, I would.

Nope. I’d avoid the street.