What Would You Do?: The Drug Cost Dilemma

"Who wouldn't? I mean, who couldn't?" she said, and then hugged Kornman. "You're such a doll. God, who could let this little woman walk out of here without at least a frikkin' pill!"

"What Would You Do?" had been taping for only two hours and in every scene, someone had stepped up to help Kornman.

But was it just a fluke? "What Would You Do?" decided to try one more time.

Wally Westervelt couldn't help but overhear Kornman's dilemma and immediately spun into action.

"I'll help you out, I'll give you money if you need it," he told Kornman.

Then suddenly, he left the pharmacy.

It wasn't clear where he was going until the cameras caught him outside -- running down the sidewalk. He had gone to the ATM to get some cash.

"Ma'am, let's get your medication," he said to Kornman, and proceeded to pay for her medication.

When we caught up with Westervelt, he said even though she was a stranger, it broke his heart to see her go without what she needed.

It's a dilemma he knows all too well -- he works for a pharmaceutical company.

Colgate University psychology professor Carrie Keating said Westervelt related to Kornman on some level.

"She definitely looked like a person who was out of options, powerless, and her plight was not her own fault ... and that is almost, to us, the ideal victim, whom we are likely to help."

Would Anyone Come to Rescue of Younger Woman?

But what if the victim were a younger woman?

This time, "What Would You Do?" cast 30-something Traci Hovel to play the part of an unemployed woman badly in need of antibiotics.

Though customers appeared to notice right away, most stayed quiet.

Two men even let her leave in tears without her medication. They said later that she looked like she had more options.

"I think you've got to deal with your own life before you can help somebody else," bystander Steve Pangiochi said.

Time and again, no one offered to help Hovel pay for medication she so desperately needed. But why were people so much more willing to help the elderly actress?

Keating said Hovel was a less sympathetic victim.

"This actress was seen as having options and someone who could take responsibility for her own plight, so we didn't have a major motivating favor there for empathy and helping behavior," she explained.

So, would anyone help the younger actress?

In one of the very last scenes, one woman finally came to her rescue.

MaryAnne Connelly, a special education teacher, stood beside Hovel and almost immediately offered her assistance.

"If I gave her $25, would you give her half," she asked the pharmacist.

But then, she took it one step further. How long would that supply last Hovel? she asked.

"About a four-day supply ... she really needs to take it for 12 days," he responded.

"Here, give her $50 and put that there with mine," Connelly said, becoming the only person over the course of two days to help the younger actress.

But why?

"So many people don't take their medicine because they can't afford it," she said. "They can't take their medicine, they can't pay for it ... and I don't like that. I don't think it's right."

Neither did the four other strangers who opened their hearts and their wallets -- reaching out a hand to help a woman in need.

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