Yesterday I was in the condo when I heard the sound of a huge crash outside. I went to see what had happened. A tree obscured my view but I could hear a woman crying fairly hysterically and saying she was so sorry. From the sound of how hysterical she was I feared something very bad had happened. As I rushed down to see if I could help I feared finding someone gravely injured or dead.
When I got downstairs I was very relieve to find no such scene. I heard her say she was on the way to a job interview and had been looking at some papers for a second while driving. That second was all it had taken for her to rear end a neighbor’s car parked on the side of the street. The neighbor had heard and come to investigate and the driver had been apologizing frantically to the neighbor. I had also, from my balcony, heard the driver call her grandmother, crying, and saying she had been in an accident. When I got there, another couple from a few condos down was helping the shaken woman to sit down on the patio of the neighbor whose car now had its rear end completely smashed in. The driver had a bloody lip, had hit her head and was naturally feeling some soreness in the neck and back but otherwise appeared, at least outwardly, to not have any major injuries.
As no one had had a chance to call 911 yet, I did that and explained the situation. As they gave the poor girl a bag of frozen vegetables to put on her lip, she just sat crying, hysterically upset. My instinct was that I wanted to take control of this situation. I wanted to take her hand and look her in the eye, find out her name and tell her that everything was going to be O.K. They were just cars and the important thing was that she was alive and no one had been severely injured. I wanted to comfort this poor, shaken, traumatized person who also felt so foolish at her own mistake which led to this accident. I felt that I had the power. I felt like I am very good at keeping my head in situations like these and making people feel more at ease. I wanted to do all this…but I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe I felt it wasn’t my place. I don’t really know. I look back and I really regret that I didn’t follow my instincts. I think I could have made a difference.
The police and EMS got there and began to tend to her. I told the officer that I had called 911 and asked if there was anything else needed from me. He said there wasn’t so I decided to vacate the premises. I hope I never have to face a situation like this again but if I do, I will follow my instincts next time. I hope that wherever she is, that she’s O.K. and has realized how lucky she really is. Cars can be fixed or replaced. So please, friends, remember that it only takes a second of taking your eyes off the road to possibly lead to a some very bad things. We all do it. Fiddle with the radio or iPod, look at a text message, glance at a piece of paper. I know this had made me more aware of my driving habits. I hope it will do the same for you.