The other day I was on my way home from washing my car. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, and after stuffing my face with coffee + croissants at the local car dealership (yes, I’m spoiled and it pays to buy your car from a dealer who gives free washes every weekend) I was given my keys to leave the building.
Once I stepped outside, I started thinking about my day and the different projects I’ve been working on for clients and how designing mobile responsive websites get displayed on devices like tablets and phones. As I sat in my seat, there just happened to be 2 cars parked within inches of one another basically bumper-to-bumper which prevented me from leaving at that moment. It must have been 5 minutes before I was able to drive a pristine wash off the lot and head back home. Finally, after one of the managers move the other car out of the lane, I was on my way.
As I headed home, the gas light went on so I decided to pull into the gas station at a very busy intersection. Once I stepped out of the car and grabbed the gas handle, I heard “SSCREEEEEEEECH….BOOM!!!!”
Turning around I saw an SUV smash head on with another car. I let go of the gas handle at the pump and immediately ran across traffic to take stock of the situation. There were 2 people sitting in the first car, a young couple who seemed to be very shaken up and thankfully were not severely injured with both airbags being deployed. As the younger guy stepped out swearing at the first driver, I told him to just relax and everything will be alright. Once I directed them over to the curb, picking up some bigger pieces of wreckage in the road, I made my way over to the other car where there was an elderly man named ‘Chuck’ who was pinned beneath the steering wheel, bleeding from head to toe.
After dialing 9-1-1, I stayed with Chuck until help arrived, letting him know he was going to be Ok. I noticed he liked to Fish as he had a fishing pole in his car that was pointing out from the back seat. I wanted to take his thoughts off the situation using anything to keep his mind occupied until help arrived. Once the paramedics showed up (and in less than 3 minutes) I provided all of the details to the officer at the scene, letting him know what I witnessed. As soon as Chuck made it out of the car I told him to be well and that he was in good hands.
The point of this entry isn’t to share the grim details of an accident, it’s that being “Responsive” isn’t always about work. Even thought this has happened to me 5 or 6 times in my life now, sometimes being responsive means that helping others is the only thing that matters. I was surprised that day to see only 2 other people get out of their cars to assist, but from the intersection of 30 other cars present, none of them decided to get out and help in broad daylight. I think that’s what surprised me the most.
I’m thankful that Chuck will be Ok, and that the 5 minutes being stuck waiting to pick up my car could have been me in the opposite situation. I’m even more grateful for the opportunity to respond quickly under pressure.
Get well soon, Chuck.