It’s pretty easy to get jaded against life and stay in one’s lane. While doing so, we unfortunately have a propensity to ignore the world around us and this leads to missed opportunities; opportunities for ourselves and for others. Every once in a while, those opportunities can be important, especially if they provide aid to someone who may need it. And helping others is important, if not only because it’s the right thing to do but because we would want the same from others if we found ourselves in need of said help. I experienced just such an occasion while driving home from work yesterday.
My day at the office was much like any other. The day flew by and I accomplished a solid day’s work, satisfied with my efforts. I put in for some prescription refills before going home, which required me to travel to the east end of the city, since I’m pretty picky about what pharmacy I use. one of my many quirks, I guess. I picked up my prescriptions and made my way home, taking a circular bypass road we have in Regina called “Ring Road.” The weather yesterday was quite mild, with the early evening temperature sitting at 0 degrees. Although this may sound nice, the issue it causes is that the snow and ice around the city melts and creates a lot of water. this would prove to be an issue on Ring Road.
As I was driving westward towards home, there was heavy traffic on Ring Road, with many people banking hard towards their end-of-day destinations. All of a sudden, a small, red SUV started to skid and swerve, going into a fish-tail and ultimately clipping a guard rail at an overpass before being thrown into the median ditch. It all happened quite quickly, so most people in the immediate area could be forgiven for driving past. Stopping on a dime would be unreasonable. I turned on my hazard lights and pulled over to the shoulder. I noticed that no one else appeared to stop. I couldn’t see the driver and the passenger area of the vehicle appeared to be filled with smoke.
I grabbed my gloves, which were ironically a pair of police-issued slash gloves that I had left over from my policing days. I slipped my cell phone into my pocket and started trying to cross the highway. The only thing that pissed me off more than people’s lack of concern, is the fact they weren’t stopping for the only person who had any. While I was waiting, another concerned person stopped as well but by then, a young male driver had emerged from the vehicle and was talking on his cell phone. When I explained that I was a retired police officer and would be helping the young man, she thanked me and got back to her vehicle and departed promptly.
I managed to make my way across the highway and checked on the driver. He was speaking to his sister and trying to explain exactly where he was. Once I confirmed that he wasn’t injured, I offered to take him home. I helped him to gather his important items from the vehicle, secured it and brought him to my vehicle. he explained what I had already assumed; he lost control driving over an icy patch of highway. The problem is that as snow and ice melted and trickled down onto the highway surface from the overpass, an amount of water settled in the shade. Although only a few degrees colder, that water froze, causing an icy hazard. As everyone assumed the roads were bare and dry, the young driver couldn’t predict that he’d be facing this hazard.
He was miraculously lucky… Once he lost control, he somehow managed to avoid all the other traffic on the highway AND only clipped a guardrail as opposed to smashing into it, head-on. I suspected some mild shock on his part, as the depth and severity of his situation didn’t seem to hit him until I pulled up in front of his house. Although only acting in a civilian capacity, I still advised him to get his vehicle towed away from where it was before it caused another collision and to file a claim through his insurance provider. he was incredibly grateful and I ensured he had some family waiting to receive him before I pulled away.
As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but think that out of the several dozen, bordering on a hundred vehicles that whipped past the scene, only myself and one other person had the thought to stop and check on another human being who may have potentially been injured and needing help from someone. I couldn’t help but imagine that had that been me… Or worse yet, my wife, I would curse the world for failing to stop and lend a hand. Although I admit that my prior police training would have prompted me to stop, I can’t help but believe that the goodness in people should still be a presiding factor in our decisions.
I’m glad I was able to help this young man. I wished him the best and hoped everything worked out for him when I drove away. Before he stepped out of my vehicle, he made a point of how lucky he felt that I was there to help him out. He attributed the miracle of his survival and the fact I showed up to the “Big Guy.” I made a poijnt of explaining to him that no thanks were necessary and that there were still good people in the world who simply want to help. It’s all in where you look… ☯️