Case in point, I was coming home from a check event last week and I missed being in a 4-car pileup by about 10 vehicles. My first thought was “thank goodness I didn’t leave 20 seconds earlier”! My second thought was to hope that no one was seriously hurt.
I could see the smoke from the crash (some of it was probably from the deployed ABs) as I came to a dead stop in traffic. It’s a single lane road and no one was going anywhere so I put my van in park, told DS2 to sit tight that I was going to check on the people, and went to the scene.
Everyone was out of their vehicles by the time I got there. The first car I came upon (the last car to crash) was a little red Sentra. There was a young woman (she looked like a college kid) crying into her cell phone. She had slammed into the guy in front pretty badly – pushing him into the vehicle ahead hard enough to deploy both frontal ABs in his Accord. Both of their vehicles were definitely totaled. She and I looked at each other as I approached and there was an instant connection. At that moment – I knew she was my responsibility.
I told her not to worry and immediately gave her a gentle hug. I remember saying, “I’ve been you – I know how you’re feeling right now”. I promised that I would stay with her, drive her home, whatever she needed. She didn’t live in the area and was apparently on the way to visit a friend. Her mom and dad were both at work far away so she was pretty much on her own. I saw the bright red mark across her upper chest from the shoulder belt. Even though she didn’t appear to be injured, I knew from experience that she was going to be hurting in a little while and I warned her about that. Anyhow, it took a while for the cops to show up. Then we had to wait for the tow trucks. At some point an ambulance was called. She wasn’t sure if she should go to the hospital or not.
I know I wouldn’t have gone but that’s just me. I couldn’t tell her not to go. I did tell her that she was probably going to be really sore for a couple of days regardless and she should find a good chiro. In the end, she decided to have the ambulance take her to the hospital and her mom was going to meet her there. I helped her get the important things out of her car and gave her a final hug. She thanked me and I replied “someday you’ll be me and you’ll be driving down the road and you’ll see you. And you’ll stop and help”.
Last Thursday was my chance to pay forward the good deeds of others at a crash scene. And I proved that you don’t have to be a nurse or a doctor or a volunteer firefighter to help someone after a crash. I’m forever grateful for the people who stopped to help me after both of my crashes. I don’t know who they are or where they are now but I hope they know how eternally grateful I am for their help and comfort.