Oh Crap!

Some time back I was a passenger in a car that my friend was driving.  We were sideswiped by a 17-year-old driver in a massive truck.  This smashed the passenger side.  We were pushed into the central freeway barrier.  This smashed the driver’s side.  Then we spun around several times and ended up on the shoulder, facing oncoming traffic.

The impact of hitting the median barrier dislodged my friend’s bicycle.  It popped over the barrier and was deposited just on the other side.  As we were standing there in shock trying to take in what had happened, a driver on the other side of the freeway pulled over and threw the bicycle into his car and drove off.  We naively imagined that this helpful guy was going to the next exit and would make a U turn and return the bicycle to us.  Pfft!  Really?

Source: newredcrossblog.org

One of the most reassuring sights in the world! Source: newredcrossblog.org

Almost immediately thereafter a fire truck that happened to be returning from a call stopped to help. These extremely efficient firefighters took charge of the situation and arranged for everything that needed to be done.

We thought we were uninjured, but the next day my friend realized she had a broken rib.  It was amazing to us that the intense pain she experienced took 24 hours to show up.

My friend’s mother was outraged at the reckless driving of the young lad who caused the accident and phoned his mother to give her and earful.  Imagine her surprise when this did not go well and accomplished nothing.

I learned something from this “Oh, Crap!” moment.

  • Don’t assume that the first random person to show up is there to help.
  • Seek out the help of people who have a proven track record in effectively dealing with problems.
  • The full extent of the problem is sometimes not immediately evident.
  • Blame is an ineffective strategy, even when the person you are blaming is in the wrong.
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