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

Playing Chicken with a Drunk Driver

If you must drink and drive, drink Pepsi.  ~Anonymous

Last night around 8:30 pm, Kyle and I were involved with a near drunk driver run in.  First, I’d like to say we are both fine, at least as far as physical evidence is concerned.

Now the story of the incident or, as it should correctly be called: The avoidance of a death resulted accident.  As I am thinking back on it now, it seems almost fake, like I couldn’t have possibly managed to squeak past death like that, but sure enough I did, with witnesses.  Kyle and I were driving up a two lane highway, not far from my parents house.  Actually, not far from my house either.  When I say two lanes, there was one lane going either direction and we were on a straight stretch of road where you can pass.  As you can imagine, seeing a little way up the road for oncoming traffic was possible.  Thank goodness!  It was dark and we weren’t in a hurry at all, just motoring along.  Kyle wasn’t playing his DS or iTouch. In fact, now that I think about it, we both had our eyes on the road with little chit chat.  It was one of those relaxed car rides.  The calm before the storm if you will.

As I drove along I noticed two very large headlights starring down the road like bright white eyes.  Now at first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.  I mean, how often do headlights stare you down in your lane of highway?  That’s the moment when I noticed the bright white eyes crossed over into my lane and hit the side of the bank, on my side of the road.  Then the truck straightened out and drove straight for a head on collision with me and Kyle.  All I saw were the bright white eyes itching to play a game of chicken with me.

It’s weird, the thoughts that pop into your head at a moment like that one.  I thought, “O crap we are going to hit head on!”  Then I started to review my options.  My first thinking was to turn my steering wheel before the impact toward the side of the road so the truck would hit my side of the car and not Kyle’s. You see, all I thought about was that little boy sitting in the passenger seat!  That would have surely resulted in my death.  I was ok with that decision except I didn’t want Kyle to see me dead in a car and I wasn’t certain he would be unharmed.  I thought, “It’s better than having us both die.”  Then I thought I could swerve into what was supposed to be his lane, but I couldn’t see for the blinding bright white eyes were on me.  Plus, if my opponent managed to move back into his lane on a delayed reaction, he will surely hit Kyle’s side of the car.  Ok, so not an option.

What I did was definitely blessed by God.  You see, there really wasn’t much of a side of the road, maybe three feet before the bank.  Now that didn’t matter anyway since he was halfway in the lane and halfway on the brim of the road on my side of the highway, again staring me down, forcing me to play a game I didn’t agree to with little options. In my last ditch effort to get us out of this alive, I made a bold move.  I kicked the car up on the side of the bank like we were Dukes of Hazard driving on two wheels.  Running into another obstacle, literally, we were in a direct path for a telephone poll.  Again, my only mission was to keep Kyle’s side of the car safe.  So I made a conscience decision to take the hit from his truck on my side of the car to avoid the telephone pole, which I just barely grazed.  Just at that moment the drunk driver, driving a Ford F150 swerved just enough as to just clip my mirror.  In essence, I managed to squeeze myself between a drunk driver in a large vehicle and a telephone pole with two wheels on the road and the rest of the car on the side of grassy ground.

Surprisingly, before the accident even happened, at the moment I knew we were going to be in an accident, I evaluated my options and was able to make a choice.  I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true, I was able to decrease the speed of the situation and see it in slow motion.  You know, it was weird, my old training took over.  You see, I used to train in Tang Soo Do (karate) and Haidong Gumdo (sword) years ago.  We always trained for Pyong, which means Safe, Comfortable, Confident, Peaceful, Well-balanced.  That’s a lot wrapped up in just one word, but there’s no other way to explain what’s going on.

Once I stopped the car on the side of the road and got it of the embankment, it was time to evaluate the damage, physical and emotional.  At first I couldn’t see out to the sides of the car.  The side air bags were released.  Now that I think about it, they may have stopped Kyle from hitting his head on the side window when I swerved.  The impact of hitting the embankment blew out my front passenger tire and practically ripped the wheel off.  It seemed as though the front passenger quarter panel was slightly dimpled just above the wheel.  Aside from that no real evidence the car was almost hit head on.

As far the emotional damage goes, well time will tell with Kyle.  Initially, once I got the car to a stop, Kyle turned to me with such a look of fear in his eyes. I mean real life threatening fear!  I wanted to be upset too but, once I saw his face and felt his fright, I stopped and turned off all emotions and became extremely calm.  You see, Kyle was waiting for my reaction to join in, but I gave him nothing.  I simply turned my entire body toward him and said in a very neutral voice, “Are you ok?”  He wanted to cry or scream, but he was in shock.  He gave me a look like, ‘Aunt Heather are you ok?’.  Without him asking the question, I instantly reassured him that I was fine and I asked him again, “Are you alright buddy?” in a tone as if he just had a bad case of the hiccups, all the while examining his head and torso to get the answer before it was given.  He looked down in his lap and said, “My stomach.”  You see we were still in our seat belts and they constricted us as if holding us in a roller coaster ride.  To almost make light of the situation and reinforce the importance of seat belts,  I said, “Ya, they did their job!”  Just then, I unfastened mine and Kyle followed suit. Then I heard a knocking at my door.

It was my good Samaritans, as I have been referring to them since.  I went to duck the airbag and get out of the car to get a good snapshot of what just happened, not thinking Kyle wanted out.  He said in a very stressed and claustrophobic voice before I got out, “Aunt Heather, I want out of here!”  I said nonchalantly, “Ok honey, stand on the bank away from the road.”  Since the car was right up against ground, the door wouldn’t open fully and Kyle had to wedge himself out.  Just then the people in the car behind me checked to make sure we were both fine before telling me the story from their point of view.  Evidently another driver stopped and said that the drunk driver almost hit them up the road.  The car behind me witnessed the entire situation.  I bet that was a crazy sight!

You know as I stood their waiting for the cops and my tow truck with my good Samaritans, the guy, which I will not name names since I don’t have permission, said, “While it’s a good thing you have that car, if it was me, my car would not have been able to make the bank and the truck would have crushed us.”  You know he’s right!  I am in a way glad it was me and no one got hurt.  The car is replaceable, no doubt.  I also noted that the lady in the car took Kyle and put him in their car so he wouldn’t get cold and to get him off the side of the highway.  She was so good to him.  Both of them were very calm too.  As if on cue they didn’t act in any sort of hysterics as to not upset Kyle.  For that alone I am forever grateful.  Not to mention everything else they did for me in our hour long first meeting.

Next the outcome.  The drunk driver made his way down the highway a little and wrecked into a guardrail and passed out.  He was so intoxicated he fell asleep!!  At this moment I didn’t know this happened and while I was on the phone calling my mom to pick us up, I realized I was sending my mom in a direct path for death!  He was headed toward where my mom would be coming!  I couldn’t believe what just happened and possibly what might happen.  When mom came to our rescue she said she saw an accident and thought it was me.  She pulled over and asked either the fire rescue or the ambulance where I was.  They knew nothing about our run in with this drunk.  They had no idea we were up the road stranded.  You see, they didn’t realize there were two accidents on the same stretch of highway.  That would explain why it took the cops close to an hour to get there.  And you know what, my good Samaritans stood with me the entire time!  They wanted to make sure Kyle and I were fine and they wanted to give their statements.

Once mom got there, I had her take Kyle home who, later on I found out, had a few bruises on his belly.  Then the cops arrived with the drunk driver in his back seat.  I asked, “Could I have a word with him?” instantly declined.  As the officer took down my information I mentioned that my nephew was originally in the car with me.  He asked, “How old is your nephew?”  He then went off spouting, “That’s great!  That’s just great!”  He informed me that he lost his brother to a drunk driver in the past.  I felt so bad for this man.  The officer went on to explain that he had to get the driver to the hospital before too long so they could get an accurate blood alcohol reading.

Mom came back to get me just as the tow truck got there.  My good Samaritans had me call them when the tow truck got there and a little bit later that night to see if we were still alright.  What great people!  I mean really fantastic people who went above and beyond!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We are all fine and I think managing to avoid complete tragedy like that was a miracle.  I think I received the best possible result out of that situation.  So please don’t drink and drive!  And if you have an opportunity to be a good Samaritan, react on it.  It may mean the world to the receiver!  God Speed in 2012!

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