Once in a while our eyes are opened to what’s right in society. The news often reports criminal activity and the negative things which happen. Saturday night I witnessed a lot of goodness when a tragic accident happened in our neighborhood.
While making dinner, I heard sirens rush past our house and then a loud helicopter engine, which made me realize something was seriously wrong. Apprehensively, I walked outside to see a life-flight helicopter hovering low in the sky, appearing to look for the right place to land. I hurried to the top of the street and saw a lot of police cars blocking the road. I know and care about those people who live in the homes where the police cars were. A fearful chill ran down my spine as I worried about what was going on. I spotted a few other neighbors hurrying to the scene and decided to stay out of the way. I waited and watched at the top of the street.
The helicopter landed and after what seemed like forever, I saw one neighbor leaving the scene and walking back towards his home. I rushed in his direction to find out what was happening. Obviously shaken by the sight, he spoke quietly with a sad, regrettable tone in his voice and told me a young boy, who he didn’t recognize, had been hit.
“Why hasn’t the helicopter left yet?” I anxiously asked, fearing that the boy might not live.
“I don’t know, maybe he didn’t survive or maybe it’s not as bad as they thought,” he said with a trembling voice.
It’s a heartbreak for sure when tragedy strikes, but when an innocent child is involved the pain is more intense. I didn’t know who had been hit, yet I felt sorrowful, not only for the boy, but the whole family affected and the driver of the vehicle. Upset by the news, I paced back and forth for a moment longer, wondering if I could be of help or if I’d just be in the way.
My feet turned and reluctantly carried me toward the accident. I recited in my mind what I would say and do to give support and care to my neighbors. I silently prayed for inspiration to do and say the right thing as I headed in their direction. I witnessed the helicopter lift in the air and speed toward the Wasatch Mountains where our renowned Primary Children’s Hospital is located. Relieved by the thought that the boy was now on his way to the best medical care in our state, I also realized how serious his condition must be.
When I reached the accident site, I observed a neighbor leading eight to ten children away from the commotion. These children were obviously in shock and a wise neighbor had the foresight to get them away from the scene and over to her house. I admired her clear mind and calming influence as she walked with them peacefully across the road, now closed to traffic, toward her house. I’ve respected this neighbor for many years, but my esteem for her grew by leaps and bounds as she seemed to know just what was needed and calmly did it.
Another neighbor filled me in on the details as he knew them. A young family was leaving a baptism celebration which was held at our neighbor’s home. While walking to their vehicle their three-year-old boy left his mother’s side and darted out into the road. In that split second lives were changed forever.
Another neighbor who happens to be a doctor gave the young boy CPR and medical attention until the paramedics arrived. Other neighbors gathered to give care and support to the families involved.
Later I learned there were no drugs, alcohol or speeding involved. The police reported it as an unfortunate freak accident. The driver was not at fault and had no time to stop when the boy darted out in the street.
Regrettably, the little boy died later that evening and the whole neighborhood is mourning the loss of a boy who most of us personally didn’t know.
Through the sadness, I’m amazed by the love and care of people. Too often our attention is drawn to what’s wrong in our world. Yet most people are genuinely good. Our beliefs may differ. We may not agree on how our city, state or country should be run. We may wish our neighbors would be more thoughtful at times and about certain situations. However, when it comes to a crisis, most people pull together and I witnessed that last night. Today, I’m grateful for the society we live in and the thoughtfulness of others. I’m thankful for police officers and investigators who are steady in horrific circumstances. I’m grateful for how quickly medical assistance can arrive in an emergency. I’m thankful for neighbors, friends and strangers whose best character traits can be realized and appreciated in a tragedy. I’m grateful to know even strangers mourn with those affected by heartbreak. I’m fortunate to live in a good society where most people do care about others.