A day or two ago, I started seeing links to a very provocative video that was released detailing a situation whereby a child was not only hit twice by traffic, but that for some time a large number of people ignored the poor child that was struck and moved on about their day. I have two links for this on CBS News and The Sydney Morning Herald (there are more but these two paint a good enough picture). I haven’t been so outraged in a long time. And hopefully this will shed some light for all those friends of mine on why they couldn’t understand why I have to help…
Years ago, when I was 19, we were leaving Ellum going northbound on 75 and were exiting to hit Cafe Brazil I think…our exit was slowed to a stop, but the highway was full speed.
I was looking out at the cars passing by so fast. Then it happened…I watched a biker get rear-ended and hit again twice by cars that did not stop afterwards, the bike with no driver spun into the middle of the highway, further causing another biker and a couple other cars to crash.
My friends in the car were jamming out pretty loud so when they heard me scream “NO!” they didn’t realize what it was I had seen right away. It wasn’t just that all those people were in trouble. I wasn’t just fear that gripped me. I was soooo angry. Because even after all that…the cars weren’t stopping.
I couldn’t stand it, and jumped out of the car I was in and ran onto the highway to get people…anyone to stop and help. The people in the cars that had crashed were fine, and even their cars were relatively okay…but the bikers, no one would come near them.
The second biker was closest and was in full riding gear, he was able to tell me his name, where he was and which day it was. A doctor stopped his car to block the lane properly and help with him as I then ran to the second biker.
The second biker was barely breathing and he couldn’t talk. His eyes were alert and frantically trying to communicate…it was pure fear…and though and I could tell he was trying to move – he didn’t have the strength to even move a finger. I was afraid to even hold his hand his body was in such bad shape and…slightly twisted.
It took the police 5 minutes to get there because of the traffic jam, and it took the ambulances almost 10. It was Friday night around 12am on northbound 75. I don’t remember much after that, I was horrified. At some point I guess I’d given my contact information to the police and that doctor that helped out there, because the next day he called me and thanked me for the effort. Unfortunately, he also informed me that one of the motorcyclists had passed away at the site of the accident, and the other had passed away overnight in the hospital.
That wasn’t my first tangle with Death. But that was when it became clear to me that I’ll never be able to even feign indifference in these situations. I would never be that guy that just kept driving on.
A year or two later on vacation in New Mexico, while I was blissfully asleep in the passenger seat. The driver of the car I was in fell asleep from exhaustion and drove us off the side of a mountain at 60mph. Your best imagination could not describe what happened to us in that fall. The only thing that didn’t happen was the car didn’t explode…
…It took the busload of people behind us over 30 minutes to get to us from the road. It took over an hour for an ambulance to get there, and almost two hours to get us back to the hospital. The truck had bounced and rolled over 100 yards down. Days later, we were shown pictures of what had happened and what happened to the truck, and pictures of where it had happened. If that bus hadn’t stopped and those people on it not come, the sun and environment would have finished the job for both of us.
It wasn’t just seeing a wreck now that influenced me. As far as I was concerned, I felt, and still feel to this day, that I have a moral obligation to help in any way I can. I don’t expect the same from everyone, but from experience, I sure as hell hope that when something like that happens to me, someone will be around that feels the same way I do.
And for anyone that feels they can’t be bothered to stop and help, I hope there was a lesson in this somewhere.
My .02 for the evening. Hope everyone has a great night.