It started out as an ordinary morning. My car had to go in for routine maintenance so Gerry followed me to the dealership where I planned to leave my car and ride with him to my office. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and it appeared to be shaping up to be a beautiful summer day. We had decided to take the dogs with us, so Maya rode with Gerry and Chelsea rode with me.
When we arrived at the dealership, Gerry went into the office to drop off the key, and I gathered my purse, tote bag, and little Chelsea and began walking toward Gerry’s car. Suddenly, the morning calm was pierced by a squeal of tires and I saw a white pick-up truck careening over a meridian on two wheels. New cars on the dealership lot prevented me from seeing exactly what had happened.
A split-second later I heard a woman’s voice screaming from the direction where I had seen the truck go over the meridian, and at the same moment the truck, travelling on rims only and throwing off sparks along the way, bounced up onto the sidewalk in front of me.
He’s stopping to go back and help the accident victim, I thought.
But I was wrong. Somehow, the battered vehicle kept going leaving a sparky trail behind it. I watched as it picked up speed and drove out of my line of sight.
I turned my attention to the screaming that continued down the street, opened the door of Gerry’s car tossed my things inside, and started running toward the sound of the screaming. When I got off of the parking lot, I was able to see a woman standing on the sidewalk beside her vehicle trying to dial her cell phone as she screamed and cried. I had no idea what I might find when I reached her. Was there someone in front of her vehicle who had been hit by the white pick-up truck?
I reached the woman quickly and was relieved to find that there was no one else involved in the accident. I put my arm around her, tried to calm her down and encouraged her to sit down on the curb. She continued to cry, but managed to reach her husband on her cell phone and I listened to her describe what had happened when the white truck had come barreling down the one-way street headed straight toward her.
There was a restaurant directly across the street from the accident scene and the customers had spilled outside where they stood and watched as I tried to comfort the hysterical woman. Gerry arrived shortly after I did, turned off the woman’s vehicle, and took the phone from her to speak to her husband to reassure him that his wife was okay. Two other people who had been following the white truck showed up and told us that he had been weaving and crashing into things on sidewalks for a few blocks before hitting the woman’s vehicle. Someone had called 9-1-1 and four police cars went speeding by in the direction that the damaged truck had gone.
The whte truck had sideswiped the woman’s vehicle and the damage was not as bad as it could have been. Damage to the woman’s presence of mind that morning was immeasurable, though. I was shaken for hours after I got to work by the accident, but also by the reaction of the people across the street who stood watching and did nothing to see if the screaming woman was okay.
A quote by Edmund Burke came to mind: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.