“Cars can be replaced.” he repeated.
Who he was, I have no idea. I must have asked him his name a dozen times, but nothing stuck as he pleaded with me to get help. It was all too surreal as I sat there in shock looking at this man kneeling down to lean inside my driver side window.
A split-second after..
With air bags dangling like that of a dead couple of jack in the boxes, (and after not exactly deploying, I might add) the air smelled like a cross between gun powder and fresh rain. The pain was immediate as the sounds of raindrops against the backdrop of an eery silence echoed off the roof of my car.
I heard every last one of those raindrops. It was like that of a slow dripping faucet.
With a street light shining through the dark upon the wet pavement, oddly enough, we had both somehow made it to the shoulder of the road. Somewhere in the distance and what seemed like some sort of a muffled sound coming from the back of my head, I heard the sirens.
First, it was someone I don’t even remember asking if I was okay as I glanced outside my windshield seeing that the other driver (I assumed) had by then escaped their car with child in hand. I remember not exactly knowing what just happened, but saying a prayer of thanks that they were okay.
By then the first wave of sirens had stopped as a police officer ran up to my window to check my condition. I probably just stared at him. He would return several more times to hear my recollection of what happened as well as offer to fill out my paperwork. I accepted his offer.
A few short moments later, and still writhing in pain, I looked out my windshield and saw the other driver taking pictures of my car. I felt so helpless. I hoped she was at least getting my good side. I remember then mumbling out another prayer for her. Not sure what I prayed, but I was certain that it was understood.
With that, a second wave of sirens had now arrived on the scene as a large fire truck parked a few feet in front me. The windshield was covered with rain as the blinking lights danced about each rain drop that had fallen upon my window. A few moments later, a fireman asked if I wanted to go on a ride to the hospital. I winced and then waved it off as he then offered to take a look at my arm.
Funny, I think I asked him his name a dozen times too. Thinking back and trying to recall his name.. nothing. He was the first person who approached me that made me feel okay. I was in shock. It seemed liked a split-second before that I was asking if this was it.
As the firetruck drove away, I sat there in the car in what seemed like a moment of silence and just stared into a void directly in front of me. What just happened?
It was then that I recalled hearing an inaudible voice that was speaking just over my left shoulder. Coming into focus as I slowly turned my head towards this voice, a forty-something old Santa like looking fellow with a beard and mustache sporting a ball cap was now kneeling down outside my window and talking to me.
I remember thinking.. where did he come from?
He was there to take my car. But instead, I think he was there to comfort my soul. Knowing I had waved off the ambulance, but obviously could tell I was in extreme pain and completely dazed, he spoke four words to me that still echo within me to this very day.
“Cars can be replaced.” he said.
He would then sit there for what seemed like a few minutes just talking to me. I honestly don’t even remember about what, but I can say it was one of the most significant conversations I would have in my life. Maybe he could see what I couldn’t see. For that, I am thankful he was there for more than just getting my car.
This makes me think. How often do we allow ourselves to see like that? Or, are we all too often on auto-pilot simply just being our part that we miss the opportunities to rather instead, play our part?
Grabbing my stuff, I got out of my car and watched as he began to get my car hooked up to be taken away. I remember then seeing him start to clean up the scrap parts scattered about from the accident. That was actually the first time I saw the front grill of my car as it was being pried away from the other car. I felt so bad watching him.
I approached him and asked, “Who is responsible to pick this stuff up?”
“That’s my job.” he replied.
I felt so helpless.
I told him that if I wasn’t in so much pain that moment and wasn’t so out of it, that I would help him. He looked at me with an odd look on his face of one caught off guard.
I told him, “Thank you.”
After picking up all the parts, he approached me and reiterated one last time before he left that I needed to go and get checked out. “Cars can be replaced.” he said.
I smiled appreciatively and told him I would.
And then he drove off.
Left standing there holding my belongings, wincing in pain, waiting for the police to finish up, and getting wet from the rain on this dark night under a streetlight, I asked again of myself..
What just happened?
Two weeks later, it gets me thinking. We all have a part to play and while some might seem more significant than others, often times, its what we think is the most insignificant, that often times, end up being the most significant. Yet, regardless of parts, do we play ours when we stumble upon the “accident scenes” woven upon our any given days?
This makes me think. It should make us all think.
With all my heart, I believe that we all matter and that we all have a part to play. But how often do we miss too much because we are all too pre-occupied.. just merely being our part?
A toe-truck driver? Really? Yep. Just like you and me.
If he was just being his part, we would have hardly uttered words towards each other, other than, is this yours? There would have never been that human connection when it was then that it was needed most. Just hook up the car, clean up the mess, leave your card and drive off.
Instead, he chose to play his part.
Do I play mine? Or do I just merely be?
Perhaps I(we) do matter. I mean, cars can be replaced, right?
You(me), there’s just one of us. Let’s make it count.
Hey friend, you matter. Be loved, love others, be safe.. and be well. G
PS. To the that one person I can’t remember, the police officer, and the fireman… thank you for playing your part, too.