Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The driver pulled to the right of the long line of cars backed up at the intersection. She was turning right; they were cruising along a busy, four-lane highway. Now sitting at the front of the line and to the right of a van, she waited for a break in traffic to make her move. With a quick glance to her left, she hit the accelerator and started onto the highway. Three feet into her move was the unforgettable crash of metal into metal. A bus hit her car, spinning it across lanes of traffic, with the bus careening to the right, wrapping itself around a telephone pole. Neither the bus driver nor the car driver saw the other.

As the impact took place before my eyes -- drivers dodging flying glass and car parts, I sat transfixed, paralyzed -- my eyes seeing, but my brain not comprehending. A few moments after the crash took place, a surge of adrenaline kicked in. I quickly exited my car, dialed 911, and checked the condition of the people in the car that had been hit.

The woman was unconscious; her leg was obviously broken.

Reporting her condition to the 911 operator, I went over to the bus. The driver too had a broken leg and was on the verge of passing out. Two of the six passengers had head injuries; these were a mother and her 14-month-old son.

Other witnesses made 911 calls too, each adding more details and confirming the urgency of the situation. Police cars sped to the scene, sirens trumpeting their arrival. Ambulances and EMT personnel did their specialized work, tending to the victims, loading some for their trip to the hospital. This continued for some time.

After a while the wreckage was dealt with; the streets were cleared, and most all the signs of the accident had been gathered up or swept away.

But the event was by no means over. Many lives were changed that day. Those injured will have to endure the pain of their injuries; the drivers will have to deal with the nagging "if only" thoughts that naturally follow such an accident. Mother and baby have a shared experience that will play out for years to come. The other bus passengers will be anxious the next time they board a bus, and I am forever struck by how quickly life can change.

Men, in an instant our lives can be altered -- sometimes completely and forever. Now is the time for the family to hear, "I love you." Now is the time to play catch with the boys or take them fishing or golfing. Now is the time to break out the Bible and read some of it to the family. Now is the time to tell your bride what a difference she makes in your life.

Now is the time. Don't wait for a 911 call.

1 comment :

Dan B. said...

I can agree with that! I'll never forget the last time I saw my wife alive. I was running late for work and rushed out the door calling a quick, "Love you" as I left. Normally I would take a moment to give her a hug and kiss, but not this time.

Later that evening while I was at work I received a call from the police telling me my wife had died.

That was in 2000. To this day I wish I had taken a couple of moments to hug her and tell her I love her, but I can't ever do that again.

Never go to bed mad, never leave without telling the people you love that you love them. Never miss the chance, it could be the last one you have.