“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan
One never knows what lessons a new day will bring. Like most people, I typically wake up, go over all the things I need to accomplish and then begin my day without giving it much more thought. Well this particular morning was no different. It started off as any other normal day, but that is usually the case with any extraordinary day. Isn’t it?
After dropping one daughter off at school and with the other still to go, we turned the corner and saw people running around showing signs of panic. My older daughter and I weren’t sure what was going on but we knew it wasn’t a happy dance they were doing. For a split second I contemplated my next step and then without much input, something inside me took over. Although we were pressed for time, I turned in the opposite direction of school and proceeded to pull over.
I flew out of the car to help. As I got closer, I saw two women and a man and a couple of crashed cars. One woman had a little blood on her head but it was the other woman who I was worried about. She was inconsolably crying and for lack of a better way to describe it – freaking out.
All of the air bags had deployed and draped down over all the windows. So I couldn’t see what or who was inside. Soon I realized that it was the woman’s baby trapped all alone inside. The mom was able to get out but the car must have locked behind her. She was screaming and banging on the car.
A helpful truck driver who also pulled over to help, tried to break the window with a crow bar, but had no luck. In the meantime, I was trying to figure out what was happening. I started to console the other young woman who was apparently responsible for the accident. She was mumbling and clearly in shock. She told me she has two little kids at home and was horrified that there was a baby stuck in his car seat, alone and scared.
I hugged her and proceeded to try to calm the other woman who continued to bang on the window. She could barely see through her stream of tears and running makeup. Still unable to see or hear her baby, I could feel her panic in my bones. Like any protective parent, she was fixed upon getting to her child.
While all this was going on, a cop pulled up, grabbed the crowbar from the man and successfully smashed in the front window. Glass flew all around us but none of us even flinched because our focus was the baby. The cop was able to get in the car and unlock the door so the mom could get to her son.
As if all of our prayers were answered, the baby was fine. In fact, he still held a tablet tightly in his hands, as his mom pulled him out of his car seat. He hugged his mom with only one little tear in his eye. Just like a scene from a movie, the mom continued to cry and held him probably tighter than she ever had.
With a shaky voice, I asked the little boy to give his mom a kiss because she really needed it. He looked at me, then leaned in for a quick peck on her lips. I hugged them both and was about to walk away.
Unable to speak still, the mom looked right into my eyes for a few straight seconds. She didn’t have to say anything and neither did I. I smiled and with tears in my eyes, I checked with the other woman and gave a nod to the truck driver. We both slowly walked back to our vehicles.
It was certainly a surreal moment that seemed to happen in ultra-slow motion. I have goosebumps just recalling this story because it was scary, emotional and beautiful all at the same time. It’s funny how that happens.
My daughter who witnessed everything from our car didn’t say much either but I could tell that she was proud nonetheless. Did I mention that I was still in my pajamas for the whole town to see?
Sometimes it takes an unexpected event to shake us up enough to teach us something profound. In fact I believe that each of us that experienced this particular event, was affected in some way. We all walked away a slightly different person.
When I opened my eyes that morning, this clearly was not part of my day’s agenda but I am thoroughly grateful for this unsuspecting event because it taught multiple lessons:
- You never know what a day is going to bring. So be thankful of every minute, don’t sweat the small stuff and hug your loved ones tightly. Life is a gift that we have to be thankful for all the time.
- When you get that inkling to help someone, please do it! Don’t drive by and look wishing you had done something or think that someone else will step in to help. Be that person. Your presence can make a difference, even if it’s just giving someone a hug or a supportive smile. Life is about giving.
- If you are going to roll out of bed in your pajamas and proceed out into the world, be full ready to sport them proudly.
Open your heart. Be kind. Help others.