The Kindness of Strangers

Another reason I got this blog (other than to give me an outlet to complain about the status of my other blog) is to write about my life a bit more, because it bothers me that I hardly ever write in my journal anymore. And Xanga, obviously, is definitely dead. And Facebook is just too cluttered with stupid quizzes and other junk that I get yelled at for complaining about, because apparently, if I don’t want to know what sex position or color of underwear you are, I am a selfish bitch who doesn’t care about other people.

(Does that make any sense to you? Because it really doesn’t make any sense to me.)

Anyways, the particular event that I most want to write about at this moment is my own personal introduction into the world of stupid drivers, airbags, and kind strangers, which occurred yesterday on a lovely intersection in Kettering, Ohio, as I drove my little brother (seven years old) and my sister (four) home from daycamp.

Namely, somebody decided that it would be a good idea to begin making their left turn directly into the line of motion of my car, after I had already entered the intersection, while the traffic light was still yellow and not red, and without stopping or slowing down significantly as they approached an intersection in which, technically, pretty much everybody but them had the right of way. Including, obviously, me, currently traveling at about 45 miles per hour, about 5 over the speed limit.

As I noticed the presence of a vehicle seemingly oblivious of the fact that it was headed directly into a collision with myself, I slammed on the breaks, already knowing that I was, to put it succinctly, fucked. I collided into the offending vehicle with the upper left side of my car and got spun into a conveniently-located telephone pole, which, had I been going faster, would certainly have shattered my windshield and probably killed (or at least injured substantially) me, since it was right in front of my face. My car slammed into the pole. The airbags exploded. There was smoke and a really, really weird smell in the air. My face started stinging.

Then my car started rolling backward, but luckily I had the presence of mind to put it in park, turn it off, and get both of my siblings out and onto the sidewalk. My sister was crying. I calmed her down. My brother, being a little boy, was excited. I let him marvel at the fire truck and ambulance that quickly arrived. I began calling both of my parents, but they were on their lunch breaks and didn’t have their phones with them.

At this point, my adrenaline-fueled energy began to subside, and I noticed my bleeding toe. Then I realized that I wasn’t sure if the crash was my fault or not. The woman in the other car was getting strapped onto a gurney. That’s when I really started crying.

I was sitting on the sidewalk and freaking out when I felt hands on my shoulders and heard a woman’s voice telling me that it was okay, that she saw what happened and it wasn’t my fault, and that everything would be fine and the police would get there soon. I turned around to see who this angel was. She looked to be nearing the end of her middle age, but had two daughters, both younger than me. The two girls immediately took over watching my siblings, buying them a bottle of water, stroking my sister’s hair, and letting my brother excitedly show off his Nintendo DS to them.

Over the next hour or two (I have no idea at ALL how long it was), the woman stayed with us, talking to the police, keeping me company, and waiting until my dad could get there and take us home. Her daughters helped me get everything out of the crashed car and put it into my dad’s. I kept telling them that if they need to leave, they should go ahead, but all three of them insisted that they’d only been going to the library, so they weren’t in any hurry.

The whole story had a happy ending. Other than my cut toe, there were no injuries among me and my siblings. The woman in the other car had asthma and was being sent to the hospital for that, so she was fine. She got a citation for an illegal left turn. I got praised heavily by the woman who stayed with me and by the police officer for keeping a cool head and getting my siblings out of the car immediately.

My poor car got sent to the shop, but it’ll be fine. Only one corner of it was wrecked, anyway. It could’ve been so much worse for everybody involved.

But, most importantly, I met three people who made a difference in my life and further cemented an already-firm belief of mine that most people have more good in them than bad. It gave me hope.

The Kindness of Strangers