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Friday, April 1, 2022

Microstory 1855: Man in the Street

Once upon a time, I was sitting at a red light, second in line, waiting for it to change, but in no big hurry. A car pulled up behind me, and started to wait too. Before too long, I felt a lurch. I checked my sideview mirror, and saw that he had knocked into my bumper, and he hadn’t even attempted to back away. My dog’s kennel was still in the back, because we had just gone to the dog park the day before, and if I lived with one fatal flaw, it was my procrastination. So I couldn’t see how the other driver was reacting to this with my rearview mirror. I could tell, however, that he wasn’t getting out of the car. There was probably no damage, because he was moving at less than a kilometer an hour, but I still felt obliged to exchange information. So I did get out, and approached him. I could immediately see that something was wrong. His face was pressed up against his steering wheel, and he wasn’t moving. I instinctively started knocking on the window, and trying to open the latch, but he wasn’t responding, and of course, it was locked. Just due to my interference, he slumped down a bit until his head was pressing against the horn. So it was blaring, the light was green, we weren’t moving, and the people behind us were honking too. There was only one lane, so they couldn’t go around. They probably thought we were stupid for not making a right turn, and dealing with this in that empty parking lot. I knew I had to do something; not for those people, but the hurt person in the car. I remembered that my son bought me and my wife both a special tool that could break through car glass. I ran back to retrieve it, and bashed the back window so I could unlock the stranger’s door. I didn’t know what I was going to do. This was just before cell phones, so I couldn’t call for help. I had once learned CPR, but I forgot all but the basic concept behind it, and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off safely.

As I was dragging him out, a motorcycle cop pulled up. He didn’t know what was going on, but he could see the broken window, and the unconscious man in my arms, so he assumed the worst. He pointed his gun at my head, and started screaming at me. It took a surprising amount of effort to convince him that I wasn’t the bad guy here. The man was hurt, and I needed help. After quickly calling for an ambulance on the radio, the police officer actually began to perform CPR, and I stood back to let him do his thing. Meanwhile, the other cars managed to find openings where they could drive on the wrong side of the road, and get around us. It was a slow process, but it was working, and people just needed to have some patience. One driver wasn’t patient. I don’t know if he didn’t see what was happening, or if he didn’t care, but he was going far too fast, and he was uncomfortably close to the line of cars waiting their turn. I had to think fast. I ran past the cop, and the unconscious man on the ground, took hold of the motorcycle, and summoned all the strength in my body to throw it to the ground. The reckless driver slammed right into it, and that was just enough to divert him away from the cop and his patient. I wasn’t so lucky. A piece of shrapnel shot out of the bike, and lodged itself in my chest. The first guy was still hurt, the bad driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, so I could see him halfway up on his dashboard. I think some shrapnel hit the cop too, because his forehead was bleeding. And I thought I was probably going to die. Obviously I didn’t. We all survived, and I’m still friends with the man I helped save, and the police officer. The reckless driver found himself going in and out of jail. This wasn’t his only offense.

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