Monday, April 13, 2009

When People Crash into your Life

It happens to be my first day back from Spring Break so this is not my normal humor laden, roll 'em in the aisles but I hope to get back to that soon. Just some brain junk.

I was in a fender bender Friday evening. I was stopped on the road outside our neighborhood waiting to make a left turn into the subdivision when I saw a car bearing down the hill on me. I could tell that the driver had no idea I was stopped and saw a line of cars right behind her. My father and Munch were in the van with me so my brain kicked into over drive.

Words out of my mouth:
"She's not slowing down."
"She's going to hit me."

Thoughts in my brain (proof that my brain works faster than my mouth):
"She's not slowing down."
"She's going to hit me."
"I need to gun it."
"Maybe I can get away from her if I gun it NOW!"
"Why won't my foot move?"
"There are cars behind her!"
"I don't want her to get hit too!"
"I have to gun it for both our sakes."
"Munch brace yourself."
"Dad, brace yourself."
"My foot still isn't moving!"
"Move you stupid foot!"
"Finally! I'm moving forward!"
"But not fast enough!"


You know the sound. You can be sitting in traffic and you hear "that" sound and you know that someone just got pegged. Because I was moving forward to get out of her way, the damage was minimal. My sweet father waited for traffic to clear and then got us steered out of the way so that we wouldn't cause any more trouble.

She gathered her information and got out of her car. I got out of the car and then I said the words that broke her heart. "Dad, can you take Munch up to the house?" Her eyes went to tears immediately. And my heart broke. Something told me that there was more to this than just a fender bender.

We exchanged information and I tried to console her but there was pain there. I had a terrible time shaking the whole incident off but not just because of the jitters that always come from an accident. There was something else.

Saturday Beloved called her just to make sure he had complete information before he called the insurance company and had a little conversation with her. She's a single mom of two who just had to take a pay cut to even keep her job. Beloved and I were both affected so when he called he asked the insurance company if this incident would affect her in any way. We would forego the claim if it meant she could keep her premiums and coverage low. They assured us that she would be unaffected so he went ahead and filed.

But she's still in my head. There are real people caught in this economic crisis and for all of my railing about government bailouts and what is fair and what isn't fair the bottom line is that no one can help us but us. Beloved and I aren't free and clear of the crisis but we have each other. We aren't facing it alone. If we can help just by offering not to file an insurance claim then we can help. If I can make a meal for a neighbor in need, I can help. If I can just help with someone's yard work so they don't have to pay a landscaper, I can help.

In times like this I think we would all do well to look at what we can DO. I think we need to look at every day events as opportunities. If just a few people start to look outside of themselves, perhaps this crisis can become our nation's salvation.


Amy said...

That was so kind of you and your family. Right now a lot of people are being hit hard. It is nice to help out when you can.

Amanda said...

That was very kind of you. Hopefully it was her first accident in a set number of years and her company has accident forgiveness. I hate to say it, but the company probably will blame her for it. Otherwise, your premiums will go up because you'll be found at fault. Someone's always at fault. I used to write insurance policies.

Cat@3KidsandUs said...

It was so nice of you to even think not to file the claim.

Shannon said...

Wow, great writting & it gave me chills. Your so right on about helping where we can.

Midwest Mommy said...

Your hitter was a lot nicer than my hitter. The person who hit me last Tuesday passenger got out of the car and started screaming and I mean screaming at me (profanity and all). I looked right at her told her WTF, I have two kids and my parents in the car you bitch. I was so pissed. I was at a red light stopped and the driver never stopped.

At least the person who hit you seemed sorry. It just sucks right now. I have to do all the paperwork, rental car, deductible and she yelled at me.

Bill and Lorie Shewbridge said...

That was really nice of you... Kharma will be good to you.