July 27, 2015

Slow Down & Be Kind

On Friday I was heading over to my grandparents for some cake and ice cream to enjoy a belated birthday celebration where I was meeting Chuck and my brother. I was sitting at the stoplight that had just turned red at one of the busiest areas in Erie when a car flew through through and hit another car in traffic. 

My jaw dropped while I watch the car speed away. The light was still red as I sat there in shock watching things unfold around me. The car that hit the SUV was still driving away from the scene and not a single car that was in close proximity to the vehicle that got hit did anything. As the light turned green my instincts kicked in and I drove ahead to follow the car who ran. 

I called Chuck and quickly informed him what I was doing. He told me to be safe. The scary thing about Erie right now is all the gun violence. In the city itself shootings have been happening daily, at any given time children, teenagers and other victims are being shot. I wasn't thinking anything crazy would happen, so I proceeded to chase the car. I had to turn in to a local business to cross the street and get back to the area where I saw the vehicle turn because of the several lanes of traffic. Once I pulled down the street and in to the parking lot, the girl was outside of her car walking around it to inspect the damage. The minute I pulled in she hopped in her car as I quickly drove up the road so I could turn around and get behind her. She pulled out in the street in front of me and was stopped at a stop sign while I pulled out my phone and took several pictures of her car and license plate while she stared at me in her rearview mirror. 

She didn't have a turning signal on and continued to sit at the stop sign so I honked my horn. She waved for me to go around her so I pulled in front of her and put my right turning signal on even though I planned to go left back to the scene of the accident. I didn't want her doing anything crazy to me or my car. I pulled out and watched her go straight down the road and not back to the accident. I couldn't believe that even after I went and found her she continued to run. 

About 7 minutes later I was able to get back to the victim. I parked my car at a nearby business and found her inside her SUV that was on the sidewalk. She was on the phone when I ran up to her. I told her that I had the license plate number and she broke down into tears. 
When she got off the phone with the police she was bawling uncontrollably and was obviously shaken up. She said that I helped her so much. She was on her way to her second job. She is recently divorced and trying to make ends meet. She was so scared and worried about how she would pay for the damage without having information about the driver who caused the accident.

I told her I was a victim of a hit and run two years ago and it was a nightmare. I was on my way out to meet some friends on a Saturday night when I was hit in the driver's side door by a van who ran a red light. I was driving Chuck's car and it spun 3-4 times down the road and I went up over a sidewalk and hit a telephone pole. I was pinned in the car facing the road that the other driver was on. Two people came running to my car to help me get out while I witnessed the driver get out of his van, look down the road and get back in and speed away. The car was totaled, I had multiple visits to the ER from back and neck pain, physical therapy for months, unpaid missed time at a new job, and a fear or driving for several months. In the end, I am alive and that's all that matters. Luckily, this woman is also alive. 

I'm not a saint, nor am I a hero. I'm simply someone who wanted to help this woman. I couldn't believe that no one came to her rescue or to at least check on her. Her car was badly damaged and she hurt her wrist. I am telling you this story today because I am someone who is almost always in a rush. When I get out of work I'm either ready to be home or headed to run 18 errands. Being able to help this woman made me realize that life will wait. If something doesn't get done immediately, it is okay and will be fine. 

Slow down. Take a moment out of your day to be kind and helpful to someone. Take it easy. Don't drive like an idiot. Life will wait. Kindness is important, so please treat others how you would like to be treated.

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