A couple of years ago, I had a minor car accident on my way home from work. It was around 4:30 pm and it was almost dark. I was on a hilly and curvy road when a full-grown deer jumped over the guardrail right in front of me. I didn’t even have time to hit the brakes or swerve or react or even blink. It happened so quickly, I didn’t even have time to think. I ran over the deer with the right side of my car. After I cleared him/her, I looked in the rear-view mirror. I think I was still trying to process what even happened. Only seconds had passed at this time. I saw the deer flailing around in the road and knowing that I couldn’t stand to watch him flail and die but also knowing I couldn’t do anything to help, I shakily drove a few hundred feet around the curve, so I couldn’t see him. Though my car was banged up, it was still drivable.
I called the police dispatcher and they informed me that I was in the county and I needed to call the Sheriff, so I did. They offered to call for me, but I called myself. I talked to the Sheriff’s office and they dispatched a deputy. I called my husband, too, who was on his way to a job site. I wasn’t noticeably upset until I talked to Blake. I had been robotically calm in talking to the dispatcher. However, when I heard Blake’s voice, I started to cry as I told him what happened. Though headed in the opposite direction to a job site, he turned around and drove to meet me.
While waiting for everybody to show up, I had about 10 minutes alone in my car, on the side of the road. When I got off the phone with Blake, I had a tiny melt-down. I cried and all the emotions came out at once. All the “What if” questions went through my mind. I felt equally shaken and thankful that things were ok. I’m so glad the boys weren’t with me. I’m so glad I didn’t swerve off the road or over the guardrail. I’m so glad it went under and not over my car or through the windshield. I’m so glad I wasn’t hurt. I’m so glad my car was not worse. The bumper was busted up but from looking at the car, you wouldn’t know what happened, except for the deer hair stuck in the bumper and the grill.
Long story short, the car had over $2,000 in damage (OUCH!) and our insurance was great. I got a cool rental car. My car got fixed. All was well.
Back to the crash, though, it wasn’t until a few days after the accident that I realized a little miracle that happened. While I sat in my car, waiting for Blake and/or the Sheriff, a man drove by, then I saw him turn around, drive back by, and stop in front of me. He got out of his truck and approached me. He had gray hair. He had on jeans. I think he had on a hat of some sort. He had a kind face. I do remember that. I got out of my car and he came up and put his hand on my shoulder and said “Honey, are you ok?” I said, in a shaky voice, “Yes sir. I’m fine. I hit a deer back there and I’m just shaken up a little. I’m sorry. I can’t stop crying.” He asked if I had called anybody and I told him my husband and a deputy were on their way.
He said “Ok, sweetie. I drove by and saw you crying and I just couldn’t stand it, so I turned around.” I thanked him, assured him I was okay, and he drove off to help direct traffic around the deer. I never saw him again. I didn’t get his name or anything. There really wasn’t a reason to, at the time.
What I didn’t realize then, and what I didn’t put together until later is that I thought he saw the deer and then saw me and stopped to see if he could help. However, after thinking about what happened, I realized that he came from the OTHER direction and never even made it around the corner to the dead deer before he turned around. That man literally saw a woman he didn’t know, on the side of the road, sitting in her car crying, and he had the compassion and the heart to stop and check on her.
That’s a small thing, but right now, it means a lot to me. It took all of 5 minutes out of his day, but that man did what most of us only think about doing. “Oh, I should stop, but I’m sure she’s fine… ““Oh, I’m so busy.” “Oh, I’m sure somebody else will stop… ““Oh, it’s probably nothing.” “Oh, I can’t do anything to help.” There are endless excuses, aren’t there?
I’m not saying we should all stop for every person on the side of the road. Certainly, there are times when calling 911 or calling another agency is the best and only thing you should do. BUT…when you can stop and check on somebody, you should. What if I had just gotten a tragic phone call? What if I had been out of gas? What if I was down to my last dollar and didn’t know where I’d sleep that night? What if I was sitting in that car thinking about “ending it all.” What if I was having a medical emergency or having a diabetic event? Haven’t you heard those awful stories where people die in their homes and nobody even notices for several years because nobody went and checked on them? I don’t even know how that happens!!! I digress…
I wish I had that man’s name, but those people are the kind who don’t want praise. He saw a situation, his heart was moved, and he did what he could. Even though I was fine and didn’t need anything from him, I’ve thought about him several times since that day and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so.
Life doesn’t mean much if we don’t help our fellow brothers and sisters. When a situation presents itself, I hope you’ll do the right thing and help where and when you can.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”