You, who stopped after my car accident on I-24 out of hundreds who passed me by, thank you. Thank you for coming up on the wreck only moments after it happened and having the clarity of thought to maneuver your car to the shoulder and literally run to my aid. Thank you for thinking of me before yourself as you waited with me in the rain until police arrived. You blew my mind with your compassion and selflessness. I was stunned by your willingness to inconvenience yourself and help someone you’d never met. Even in my broken state I managed to glean a deeper understanding of what love for my fellow man looks like by your actions.You were a black female dressed in a men’s sweat suit with tattoos down your face but I’d never seen someone who looked more like Jesus. I failed to catch your name but I will never forget you.
What makes a person stop for another verses keep going? I’ve asked myself this a lot now that I’ve been the recipient of a stranger’s concern. I haven’t always stopped when I’ve come upon an incident. I’ve convinced myself that there was little I could do anyway, or that others will stop to help. Maybe I didn’t have time to safely move my vehicle off the road or I saw emergency personnel just about to arrive…who knows my various excuses.
My belief is that often times fear holds us back. Fear of being inadequate. Fear of the unknown. Fear of another person’s death or injury. Fear of somehow making matters worse. It’s not that people who don’t stop are selfish or bad, it’s that they are scared of what might or might not happen. Fear keeps us from reacting. I can only speak from my perspective as the victim of a car accident, but whether the person was able to help me or not was irrelevant in those moments. I was just grateful to have them by my side. There’s nothing worse than feeling utterly alone in the wake of a serious trauma.
I hope that some of you reading might step out of fear and become bold in extending the same compassion to your fellow man that I received if ever you’re faced with such a circumstance. *BUT, always be safe. If it’s too dangerous to help, choose wisdom.*
The wreck was easily the most terrifying experience of my life. Watching that guardrail and cement pylon coming right for me at 65mph and human powerlessness never being more apparent brought fear into my being that I’ve never felt.
In two seconds I was hydroplaning and had lost all control of the car. In that time I had made peace with God and was ready to accept the violent ending of my life. I took my hands off the steering wheel as it careened toward the blockades, covered my eyes and accepted the end. The terror felt during multiple impacts at high speed and the fear of being hit by other drivers as my car was whipped back out into the interstate caused me to scream out. But the calming worship music that never seemed to stop playing somehow dulled the intensity of it all. When the violence ended it took me a full minute before I took my hands off of my eyes. I sat there listening to the peace-bringing song wash over my fear. I soon realized that I was still alive and off the highway. At that point I began to recognize the magnitude of what I’d experienced and how miraculous it was for me to be alive and relatively unharmed.
As I sat in my car in shock I noticed that no one was stopping to check on me. I knew police were on their way, but how long would it take them to arrive? I was alone. Shaking. Crying. Then a single concerned driver put their blinker on and decided to check things out. The comfort I felt looking into the eyes of this unexpected hero was more than I can express.
Ever since Sunday I’ve been in a trauma induced daze, but I see the fog lifting little by little each hour. All I can do is believe that God will take care of the new set of needs this incident has created.
My sincerest thanks goes out to each one of you that has kept me in your prayers as I continue to recover mentally and emotionally more than physically. You’re the best!
Below is the song that was playing before, during, and after my car wreck. Ironic?