Good Samaritans Do Exist

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.  ~Adam Lindsay Gordon

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My Aunt & Uncles house in the snow. The view from my parents front yard. 2015

A little over a week ago, on December 14th, I was heading out to the Pittsburgh Airport, traveling to North Carolina for work.  The Pittsburgh weather was typical, all over the board and unpredictable. Earlier in the week it was warmer and raining, and yet the day before I left it snowed.  On a side note, it was a beautiful white fluffy snow that outlined everything with white detail.  The type of snow I wish we had for Christmas.  The roads weren’t great but manageable.  Being a seasoned Pittsburgh driver, that didn’t stop me, well not totally.  As I was heading westbound on I-376, I hit a patch of ice and spun out of control, bouncing off of the Jersey barrier a few times before coming to a stop, facing oncoming traffic.

By the grace of God I wasn’t really hurt, except for a burn on my hand from the airbag and a little whiplash.  Plus, no one else was involved just me, myself and I.  The other drivers on the road including myself, were all maintaining safe speeds and keeping safe distances around in the event there was black ice.  There was!  My fellow morning drivers were able to watched the accident, plus they had time to stop and assist.  Did I also mention it was about 6:30 a.m. and the roads were pitch black except for the reflection of headlights?  Not ideal conditions but you gotta work with what you have.

Was I upset?  Sure.  To be honest, at first I was in a little shock, everything happened so fast.  Both airbags deplored, the car was undriveable, I caused the backed up traffic and I was so close to the airport.  It wasn’t a great way to start the morning, nor was it a great way to begin my journey to the south.

That was the bad news and now the good.  Good?  You bet, dealing with actual tragedy, which this wasn’t, I’ve come to appreciate the good in every situation.  This accident was no exception.  Here’s my list that I’m thankful for.  I wasn’t really hurt, people stopped to help and call the emergency personnel, no one else was involved, I had plenty of time to get to the airport without missing my flight, the entire incident took only a half an hour from the accident till I was on my way, and a good Samaritan really went above and beyond.

I’ve come to realize that out of bad incidences, good always has an opportunity to make its appearance and normally does.

The one car behind me containing a lady, was on her way to work.  She stopped and stayed with me the entire time!  In fact, I remember later, right after the accident, once my car came to a stop, my hand was burning and I smelled this stink.  Initially, I thought the car was on fire but it turned out it was the powder from the airbags.  I got out of the car on I-376 to walk away from vehicle not paying attention I was on a major interstate, at night.  Also, for some reason, I thought I was on the other side of the road, probably because my car was facing the wrong direction.  I do remember this lady stopping across from me in the slow lane and asking if I was fine.  My response?  “I’m not sure.”  She walked me off the road and that’s when everyone jumped into action to help.  It was a big blur for the better part of the situation, I was a little out of it.

A local cop showed up to assist before turning it over to the state cop, who was also a good person.  He even called the tow truck and released me before it came so I wouldn’t miss my flight.

My good Samaritan, which I did get her name but I don’t want to release it without her consent, went above and beyond.  Not only did she assist me, and stayed with me along the side of the highway, offering her vehicle to sit inside and stay warm, she also drove me the rest of the way to the airport.  Seriously?  YES!  Granted, I wasn’t that far from my final destination, but I can’t believe her kindness.  She called her work to tell them she would be a little late, too.  Guess what?  She was also a member of our armed forces!  That does not surprise me.  She serves our country and now she’s extending her kindness to a stranger.  In addition to uncovering her name, I also found out she’s an electrician with the air force, and she had a baby boy.  I wish her all the happiness in the world.  One day I hope to pay her back by paying it forward and using her actions as the standard for being a good person in the event of an accident.

My good Samaritan wasn’t the only person who stopped and assisted.  There were several genuinely sincerely people who made phone calls and checked in on me.  I truly can’t thank all those people enough.  Pittsburgh is really a very friendly city and I think we have an over abundance of good Samaritans.  I wish we could put that on a license plate.

I hope this story is an inspiration to everyone.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year!

12/30/16 Update – I received this flyer in the mail the other day.  I’ve receive it before but never paid much attention, since I never really drove the Honda, but this time it meant something.

There was recall on my car because the airbags contained metal fragments and were known to kill or injure the passengers when deflated.  Seriously?  Yes.  Can you imagine the sickening feeling I received upon seeing this candy-cane stripped oversized flyer?  Even though I was the only one in the accident, it still could have been a fatal.

I never addressed the problem because I was always too busy, forgot or like I mentioned, didn’t really think anything of it since I didn’t drive the Honda much.  It just goes to show just how blessed and fortunate I am.  I’m guessing my brother has a full time job looking out for me.

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posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Travels and have No Comments

Good Intentions

The minute you become conscious that you are doing good, that’s the minute you have to stop because from then on it’s wrong.  ~Paula Fox

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Kyle loving his Aunt Nikki’s dog, Avery. 12/24/14

As usual, we made it through another Christmas and New Years without any major issues.  It was a bit warm for my tastes, I would’ve preferred a white Christmas, but it was a blessed time all the same.  (I am loving the snow now!)

Kyle had another successful Christmas.  This year’s theme?  Warmachine.  (Warmachine Tournament, Painting Warmachine)  He received new figures and played a mean game with his Aunt Nikki.  Most of Christmas consisted of him gluing, and admiring the new additions to his army.  I can’t tell you, how many times he asked me to get him Loctite Super Glue, to keep his assembly line moving.  Kyle recieved a few unconventional gifts from me, one being a red laptop messenger bag, the latest Wimpy Kid book (I know he’s too old, but he has the whole collection so I thought, Why not?) and Percy Jackson The Blood of Olympus (I found out upon Kyle unwrapping the book, that he already read it in the school library.  Kudos to the school for supplying kids with current reading material.)  We also managed to go to the movies to watch, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.  Great times!

Sometimes, I believe Kyle is aware of how fortunate he is, yet I’m not always so sure.  I do remind him, and bring it to his attention about those less fortunate in the world.  Does it sink in?  It has been my experience, that children do indeed get it and hear what is said or preached to them, but never let on.  So, I guess the next question is, does he care?  I believe Kyle’s participation with his youth group, and the community service they partake in, is a step in the right direction.  Of course, these actions mean nothing unless it’s done from the heart.  Who am I to say it’s not?

I worry about Kyle and his character and the man he will become.  Sometimes, I worry so much, I don’t realize I can set by example, which in my opinion is the best way to teach.  I’ve always tried to demonstrate being a good person, at least to the best of my ability, even though I fall short.  I’m not a perfect person, so when I mess up, I take responsibility, and try and make things right.  I don’t hide my mistakes, I explain to Kyle why I was wrong, and how to fix it.  I’m always encouraging him to continue to be a good person and make decisions with good intentions, no matter what happens in life.

What brought this up?  On Tuesday, this past week, I was at my sister’s in the D.C. Metro Area.  We had to get up early, to go to the hospital for her to have outpatient knee surgery.  Nothing major, just a simple routine to address her torn meniscus.

On a side note, it was a simple procedure.  However, to my sister, she had MAJOR surgery and she acted as such.  I bet her blood pressure was through the roof!  After surgery, the doctor said he placed a band-aid on the entrance wound.  Later this week, Nicole would defend her actions by saying, “Heather!  I had major surgery!” and I would correct her by saying, “You have a band-aid on your knee!”  Typical us.

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Kyle posing with Avery, his Aunt Nikki’s dog. 12/24/14

We woke early morning, allowing enough time to make it through the fresh snow and traffic.  I would like to clarify, the Pittsburgh area is pretty good about clearing the roads, especially when they have warning of a snow front coming through.  However, in Virginia, they must have a shortage of salt trucks.  No joke.  We were on major Interstates, and the roads were completely covered.  During our travels to and fro, we spotted one truck.  One!  I was flabbergasted!

Anyway, as we moved along, getting ready to make a left hand turn, there was a car in front of us not moving at the green light.  Then, we saw the vehicle’s four-way lights begin to flash.  Nicole, simply went around the car, and we were on our way.

Just then, it dawned me, when did we, referring to every human being, abandon our concern for others in roadside distress?  I was not faulting my sister, or anyone else, because we’ve all done it.  We assume the other motorist has a cell phone and has someone to call for help, or roadside assistance.  When in reality, that might not be the case.  Perhaps we’ve become callous to these instances because of our assumptions with our own electronic devices?  Or we simply don’t care?

I believe people are innately good, and I believe they are genuinely concerned for his or her fellow neighbor.  It has always been my experience, ever since I started driving, that people have helped me, or offered to do so, for one reason or another.  Always! Playing Chicken with a Drunk Driver.  So why don’t I now?

Believe it or not, when I’m driving I do.  However, if I have Kyle with me, I tend not to, for fear of trouble seeking me out with my little man present.  Regardless, I try to have good intentions, behind everything I do, even though it might seem like I don’t care.  I believe the same goes for a majority of the population.

Perhaps we can all make a change for the better, in the new year!  Even among all the hostage and terrorists situations taking place in Paris now.  God Speed!

Happy New Year!  2015!

 

 

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

Community Service – Giving Back

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.  ~Mother Teresa

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Kyle with his Youth Group leader Mrs. Milko at a senior care center 12/16/12

This year Kyle was old enough to join our church’s youth group.  They accept students who are in the sixth grade and Kyle will be able to participate until he graduates high school.  The Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia youth group also accepts anyone meeting that criteria, students don’t necessary have to go to our church to join.  It seems like such a large span of ages, but I think it’s good experience for all parties, having such an eclectic group.  They are a great group and I highly recommend any child joining.

The Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia youth group is well organized and pretty involved in the community.  Every year they elect their officers and vote on the activities they want to accomplish during the school year.  Yes!  The students make the suggestions on the community service work, the fundraisers and the fun activities they want to participate in.  The students are also the ones who vote on which suggestion from each of the categories they want to accomplish throughout the year, guided by their fearless leaders Mrs. Milko and Miss Janik.  Structuring the group this way, really truly makes it their own.  The young adults are held accountable and learn responsibility.

This past Sunday, the youth group went to a senior living center nearby and passed out ornaments and sang Christmas carols.  I know Kyle’s visited a similar facility in the past because of my grandma, but I don’t think Kyle really paid much attention to all the different types of elderly people and really saw them.  The first floor contained the seniors who needed consistent attention and care, nothing out of the ordinary for Kyle.  However, the top floor was slightly different.  The upper level was a secure section where they housed the mentally handicapped.  The assortment of individuals with varying degrees of sickness, was a whole new world for Kyle, and I’m glad he had the opportunity to experience it.  My goal was always to have Kyle see the world and experience everything.  This is part of it, it might not be the glamorous side of life, but it is reality.

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The Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia Youth Group 12/16/12

Besides being a little bit intimidating, the visit went every well.  It seemed like our presence was appreciated by those it was meant to benefit.  Our nurse tour guide, if you will, was great with the students!  After all the gift giving and the Christmas songs where sang, the nurse gathered the students together to tell them about the residence.  She wanted to let the youth group know that their efforts are recognized and their actions are more valuable than they realize.  Not naming any patients by name, the nurse gave broad stroke statements to drive several points home.

She (I wish I knew her name) mentioned that some of the elderly have no families and some have no one in their lives, except the caretakers.  She stressed how important it is to bring Christmas to them and how much it means to the recipient.  The upper level residence, those who have mental illnesses, were addressed to bring a strong message to the forefront.  She brought to light the fact that a majority of the patients upstairs where placed there due to drug usage and abuse.  Driving the point even further, she threw out a few numbers, the age ranges of the upper level residence, and they weren’t all elderly.  Surprisingly, she had a patient who was in his/her late twenties at one point.  Completely sad, especially when it’s unavoidable.  As the youth group and nearby adults were shocked over hearing this information and while they were pondering it, I discretely leaned toward Kyle and sternly whispered, “If I ever catch you trying drugs or cigarettes or hear of it, I will beat the crap out of you and put you in here permanently!”  He gave me a shaky ornery grin, knowing I might have sounded light about the comment, but meant the threat to its fullest extent.

As of now in life, Kyle hates needles.  He gets seriously ill  just from the shear sight of them and he hates to break rules.  So far so good.  Not to mention Kyle hates cigarettes!  That’s my man!  Like the nurse, I take ever opportunity to help drive home messages too.

When Kyle and I were leaving, I gave him a little inside, on the history our family has with that particular senior care center.  Kyle likes to hear these stories of our past and knowing he is indirectly apart of it.

Mom volunteered there in high school, reading books to the elderly.  I’m not sure how that came about, but it was a perfect job for her, for someone who loved to read.  I’m sure she was animated with her narration of the novels, just as I get when reading to Kyle, well maybe not that extreme.  When mom talks about those days it is with delight.  I think she really enjoyed reading and spending time with the seniors.

When Father Alred would administer mass to the sick and anoint the sick, the alter boys would assist him.  Being an alter boy, Ryan would volunteer when needed.  He did that all through elementary school.

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Kyle snagging a cookie after passing out Christmas ornaments & singing Christmas carols to the elderly for his youth group. 12/16/12

Although Ryan’s volunteer days didn’t end there.  He also worked at this senior care center for a few months when he got in trouble in high school.  Ryan, who was really a good kid, but just did stupid stuff, was busted skipping school and drinking on school property.  Only my brother!  As punishment, besides the fines he had to pay and loosing his drivers license for a year, he had to do community service work.  Yes!  For an entire year, I had to cart his butt around everywhere, back and forth to work, school, you name it.  As part of the court order, he had to do so much community service time.  The judge was going to have Ryan pick up litter along side the highway.  That’s what they all thought, until mom interjected and requested he work in the senior care center.  Mom knew Ryan didn’t care about doing manual labor, but working with elderly people was a different story.  She also thought besides helping those who really need it, this activity would leave a lasting impression on Ryan, driving her point home.  I guess I know where I get it!

It did!  It even made an impression on me.  When I heard about mom’s suggestion, I thought “O crap, Ryan’s in for it!”  Ryan would come home and tell me all about the old people who would call him “sonny” and some of the things they said to him were hilarious!  He always had a story to two to tell me about this patient who would chase Ryan around in his wheelchair!  Why?  I have no idea and neither did Ryan, but he said sometimes he was quick!  A majority of the stories were funny!  We would roll around laughing.  The other stories just plain grossed me out.  Those usually involved exactly what you’d expect, the daily activities of cleaning bed pans etc.  At one point I said to Ryan, “Boy you made mom mad!”  He just shot me his ornery grin and a look of ‘Don’t I know it!’

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Sacred Heart / Saint Cecilia Youth Group – passing out ornaments & singing Christmas carols to the elderly 12/16/12

While attending Sacred Heart School, Nicole and I would participate with our classes and sing Christmas carols to the elderly.  In fact, the entire school would sing through the halls, bringing Christmas cheer and a freshness to the otherwise mundane environment.  At the time, I didn’t realize what we meant to the patients and the caretakers.  I actually never thought about it until Kyle’s excursion.

All of our lives, we have been raised to volunteer and give back to the community, one way or another.  When I was in elementary school, all the students were required to work the church picnic every August.  We had to sign up for our booth and our shift, and we were responsible for being present and covering all open shifts.  Keep in mind, we were young kids who were responsible for the money being exchanged and stocking the booth of all the goods or administering to the game provided.  Granted we had adults following up on us and directing us when needed, but it was our duty to the community as students of Sacred Heart.  I enjoyed it!

Giving back to the community should be introduced and instilled in every child from a young age.  It’s good for the soul, it’s good for the recipients, it’s good to set an example, and it’s good for everyone’s over spiritual well-being.  It breaks my heart to hear of a child or an adult that has never volunteered for the community, or those that are not interested in giving back.  They are the ones missing out on a great experience given to us from God.  He made us all different so we can rely on one another.  Giving in the form of a monetary gift is certainly accepted and needed, but it is only one side of community service.  The act of volunteering your time and skills and getting involved is another side side all together and one worth trying.

It’s never too late to give back.  There are so many organizations in need of help!

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing and have No Comments
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