SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 141: Helping Hands

Mr. T chooses to not be photographed, but I do get a snap of his hands to let you know he is real.

I’m driving home a little over a week ago, same route I take at least three times a week. Not far from home the traffic suddenly begins to brake aggressively. And, blocked by the two lanes of traffic to my left, I have no idea why.

I start my braking, and as I’m literally feet from a full stop, in front of me appears a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair. He is oblivious to the traffic, which is skidding, almost out-of-control, to a sudden stop. Cars are sliding every way trying to avoid each other, and more importantly the sleeping senior citizen in the rolling chair.

We are not at a cross walk, no lights are near us and it is at the peak hour of speeding traffic. The man has a death wish.

I’m feet away from colliding with him and his chair bound passenger. I’m seeing death about to happen and I press harder on my already straining brakes. Ten feet, five feet, three feet, Oh please! Car stop!

Fate falls on this insane fellow when, and I’m not kidding, my car stops inches from these j-waking life riskers. They clear my right front fender, and at that exact moment… Wham! My car is smashed from behind.

I quickly do my body check, all seems in place, time to check on the person who hit me.

As I exit the car, the accident causing pedestrians show no remorse, give no apology and without even looking behind, towards the accident they have just caused, continue belligerently on their, finally safe on the sidewalk, path.

It would be an absolute fabrication, if I told you I was not steamed. “Hey, cross walk!” I yell with a condescending headshake to my accident causing friends.

Even though they almost had me carry the burden of running over a fellow human, I still ultimately have to accept my 365 charge of we are all humans. And with that, and in respect to the planet, I still have to call them friends and must forgive them.

Yes, they made a huge error in judgment, and because of an extremely irresponsible decision, the chair pilot put many people in harm’s way. But for me to carry the cross of his actions would be a paralysis to my development.

What he does with the knowledge of his actions is his concern; my hope, he truly considers the results of his blind decision, and in the future will choose to think twice before, ever again, interrupting traffic.

Back to the scene, and more importantly, how is the driver of the other car?

I shake my rage, that literally seconds ago was directed at the foolish pedestrian who had caused the accident. He is far and away now, what is important is the condition of the driver in the vehicle that is now bound to my rear bumper.

She is panicked, “Are you OK!” I ask. In tears she responds, “My heart is racing, did we hit them?”

“No their fine, don’t worry about them. Are you OK?”

“I think so, I tried to miss you, but the curb got in the way. My heart is pounding.”

Now I’m thinking she is going to have a heart attack.

“It’s OK, were all fine, take a few breaths, can you open your door.”

You probably get the picture, and I won’t bore you with any more minute-by-minute accounting of the event. I’m sure you can put it all together. Body checks, exchange of information and farewells. Any of us who have gotten in non-injury fender benders probably know the beats, call insurance companies, wait, and one day, hopefully have a car repaired to satisfaction.

One other note to share, my new friend in auto stress has cleared her car and while exchanging information, her husband arrives, a very attentive and kind man, whom upon our mobile call, raced to the scene.

So here we are, three strangers collided together in a very stressful situation. I’ve seen many a fight occur in similar situations, but we were at peace, with the overriding general concern being, the health of the woman who rear-ended me.

I share no names, I was not even going to publish this story, but is has been shaking me for a week, “Share it without revealing the players.”

Today’s events, push me to submit.

I have to back up for a moment, and for the purpose of story telling I’m going to give my friend a stage name…Call him, Mr. T.

Not Murdock’s friend, the Mr. T of the A-Team; but Mr. T, the unnamed man who so compassionately has been communicating with me for the last week.

We’ve heard this, “All thing happen for a reason.”

And truly, I can see no justifiable reason for the auto accident I shared with the wife of Mr. T, or a grand purpose for change in the life of the chair steerer that caused it.

But what is resonant is the humanity of the situation. Yea, I know, I broke loose in my chastisement of the wheelchair pushing man, “So how humanistic are you Mr. Radstone?” I have no regrets for my outburst… Sometimes in teaching, there is cause for volume.

Yet the rapport between the driver, Mr. T and myself is calm and concerned. It’s just metal. It’s bends, so what! No one was injured, or worse, killed.

I could have chosen to drive the nail in. Oh my neck! Weren’t you looking ahead! or any number of divisive attitudes.

Or not trying to put myself on a soapbox, I could have easily been attacked in similar manner.

But we did not, that is what I observe as the humanity of the situation, and humanity is what I have to link to a re-adaptation of “All thing happen for a reason.”

That adaptation, “If it is going to happen, with the right attitude, it will all work out.”

There have been some interesting concepts discussed over the last four months, The Gestalt Theory, Nothing is Chance, and We are guided together at time by influences beyond ourselves, to name a few. All of which are interesting and I make no claim in promoting any of them.

However, since I have committed to 365 with an open mind and heart, most things in life have, sorry to be cliché, “Just worked out.”

We’ve talked of the power of one. That being, each one of us has the choice to give. A small act of kindness or a bold act of charity, it matters not.

What is relevant, “Do we?” And by touching one, the chance of that attitude being passed on in immeasurable ways cannot be graphed. Yet, I’m certain of its ability to facility great change in all of our perspectives on the way we treat each other.

I’m curious to know if any of you have seen similar occurrences in your lives. If so, please share if you can? I’m sure we would all love to hear your comments, and have a break from the ranting’s of Mr. R.

The right attitude… It will all work out.

My car is smashed and I hate the insurance nightmare; so before I act, I decide to wait a day to gather my thoughts and to review the snap shots I took at the scene of the smashing. “Hey, I told, you my camera is always with me.”

About thirty hours pass, and, no lie, as I am reaching to pick up the phone to call my insurance provider, the phone rings, it’s Mr. T. “Have you called your insurance company yet?”

There is peace in his voice, and I’m instantly curious as to his reasoning. “Not yet, why?”

At first, dark thoughts enter my mind, I’ve had a few terrible experiences in the past that dealt with similar phone calls, all leaving me with a fat bill to pay.

Quickly, I check myself, “Richard, if you are professing ‘We are all in this thing together,’ you better shape up and listen.” Crud, now I’m held to my own benchmark, that being, the right attitude stuff we’re talking about.

It will all work out: Mr. T turns out to be a lifelong professional mechanic, even works at a Honda dealership. Our phone chat goes on, “May I repair your car for you at my expense, that will help both of us in dealing with the insurance companies.”

We agree to give it a day for consideration, and after I do my homework, I find out he is legit.

The last thing in the world I want to do is to become a hypocrite to 365, and in the interest its claim, again, “We are in the thing together,” I deem it a wrongdoing act to persecute him in destroying his insurance rate, I agree to allow him the repair.

A week later my car is as good as new, no lengthy waits for inspection, no paperwork, and no guile in knowing that another’s finances have been hurt.

Mr. T even reaches beyond the call of his responsibility and does a few other needed repairs for me.

I know… a lot of words for a message. Not the most exciting story, but looking deep into its core, it carries a powerful message. A lesson to us all to realize that no matter what the situation, or the people involved, many of us can help each other.

It’s that power of one thing we have been discussing, and at the end of the day, it really is up to us to either pass it on… or not.

Mr. T, thanks for passing it on, and I hope your wife is OK.

6 comments

  1. Richard,

    This is truly a great story, not about the accident of course, but how you explained it. It was nice that you thought about your reaction before you let your initial response come forward. Which, if truth be told, probably 99% of us would have lashed out. The one image that sticks in my mind is that Mr. T helped the one who could not help themselves, and without thinking about anything else! That, my friend is love unconditional.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Peace and love
    Tammy

    Like

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