Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life Lesson: Humanity on the Highway

It didn't take long before an opportunity to show compassion reared itself. Only the 2nd day of the new year, and a car slams into the side rail of Hwy. 85 just a couple hundred yards in front of us. We were heading back from dropping Granny off at the airport and looking forward to a sit down lunch. I wanted soup because I've been fighting a cold that may have turned to something more. We were just about to the exit when Jeff's exclaiming "Oh no, oh no!" made my head snap up from my daze and see a 4 door car heading sideways towards the wall. Honestly, what I saw made no sense to my brain - it was like slow motion as I saw the car slam to a stop when it hit the wall head on. Jeff asked if we should stop, there was one car ahead of us pulling over, and that's when I saw the booster seat in the back of the car. "Yes! Stop, there is a baby!". She wasn't a baby exactly, more like 3. Her older sister was driving and lost control, the mother was in the backseat with the little girl.

I called 911 and the response team got there within minutes. Meanwhile, Jeff and another man were checking on the family. They were also directing traffic, as the tail end of the car was sticking out in the slow lane. Jeff got the little girl out and held her until the ambulance was ready to take the family away. They came to the van to get a coat, borrowed from Sydney, because it was cold. It was probably around this time that I cried. She looked so unbelievably scared, her mother bleeding in the backseat and her older sister pulling paperwork and belongings from the totaled car. I was so proud of my family. I heard not one complaint from my own backseat, no whines of "taking too long" or "I'm still hungry". Nicholas was ready to move farther back in the van so that the little girl could ride with us (he didn't know where she would go), Sydney lovingly gave her coat to a stranger (we did get it back when the older sister was able to get hers from the car, but when it was handed over, Sydney couldn't know that) and we all did what we could, even if that just meant being patient while Daddy helped.

The kids were pretty shaken up by the experience. I don't think they had ever seen a person on a stretcher before. It lead to such a great discussion on how it is our job to help one another when we can. I love talking to them about charity, and that topic will be blogged again in the near future, but actually DOING something feels so much greater than giving money. I think it's time for me to look into what we can do to help, something hands on.



S said...

Wow, it made me cry just reading it! We had an opportunity to help a mom and baby out ourselves on Saturday. She got a flat tire, so she made a few phone calls from the house (the one time she forgets her cell phone, ya know) and then we drove her a little down the road to her IL's for a belated Christmas. The kids were so excited to help and it made them feel really good. When we got back, we even let her other relatives know that we'd safely delivered her to her destination.

I'm really interested in doing something for others as well, so if you want to brainstorm let me know! What about taking the kids to a retirement home to talk with the residents? Our kids LOVE to talk and older folks love to see so much life :)

Christin said...

You know S, my grandmother lives in a retirement community nearby :) I'll give her a call and see if we could set up some "playdates". I love that we have the kids we do!

Sha Bish said...

I know what you mean, sometimes you just want to DO something. Forget all the talk and planning and giving money but really be a part of helping someone in need. Recently, actually 3 days before christmas, my neighbors house burned down. They were homeless. My husband and I explained what this meant to the kids, especially with Christmas coming. They got together clothes for the little girl and although we did buy a present for her they also have a toy set aside for her as well. I was very proud of them.