This morning, I drove my hubby to the train for his daily work commute. Just like I do every other day. As I was driving up a long hill, headed back home, I saw a car coming downhill on the other side of the road swerve all out of control and drop down over an embankment. My first thought, was someone had a heart attack or something. My second worry, was that it rolled.
As I came up the hill a little further, I saw another car crumpled in the road. Several witnesses had already pulled over and were rushing to the car on the road, but I didn't see anyone checking over the embankment. I crossed the road, found a place to park, and carefully descended the hill to the blue SUV. The car hadn't rolled. Thank God. I ran to the driver's side, avoiding the barbed wire that the car had tangled itself in. The tires were popped, engine shut off. The driver's window was partly down.
I heard yelling drift down from the street. "She just turned right in front of me. I couldn't stop. I don't know what she was thinking." A young mom clearly still in shock, held her young son on her hip.
I called up to the people gathered roadside, "Has someone called 911 yet?" I was given an affirmative nod, as a cell phone was raised in the air.
I looked into the SUV, only a driver, no passengers.
"Are you okay," I asked.
A young woman was leaning back in the driver's seat with her hand to her head. Her legs were shuddering, and her free hand was trembling. "My head hurts," she mumbled.
I looked her over. No blood to speak of, no obvious signs of broken bones. The seatbelt wasn't latched across her chest. "Were you wearing your seatbelt?"
"No, it's broken."
"Well, let's keep still until the paramedics get here."
She moaned a little, shivering and quaking.
"So, what's your name?"
"Okay Amber, does anything besides your head hurt?"
"My arms hurt, but my head really hurts." Her left hand was pressed against her face, and had been since I'd arrived.
The car faced directly into the sun so I put my hands in front of her to shade her eyes, "Amber, can you lower your arm, will you let me see your face?"
She lowered her hand slowly, a large goose egg was already beginning to grow over her left eye. A tiny abrasion on the surface, but nothing else that seemed obviously serious.
"My head hurts so bad," she moaned again. Her eyes darted around, then she cried, "I'm going to be in so much trouble."
"Shh, let's not worry about that. Just sit still. It's okay, you're okay."
"But, I don't have a license." She moaned and closed her eyes.
"Amber, sometimes we make bad choices, and then we have to deal with the consequences. But, that's not what we're going to worry about right now. Right now, I'm going to just hang out with you until help gets here. You are going to be fine."
"I need my phone, I need to call my friend."
I looked over her into the vehicle, "I don't see a phone. What's it look like."
"It's small, it's white..."
The first policeman arrived at my side at about that moment. I explained that she had not been wearing her seatbelt, and I'd encouraged her to stay put till the firemen could get to her. I also told him she was really wanting her phone, and would it be all right for me to look for it for her. After telling me to be careful, he said if I wanted to look for it, it would be okay.
I went to the passenger side, and opened the door. I found her phone wedged alongside her seat. I gave it to her, and then told her she was now in good hands.
When something like this happens, it's funny how our judgement system is put on hold. If I'd just heard about this accident, I'd probably have been thinking she was probably just some loser, unconcerned with others and with no sense of right and wrong. It could even be the truth. Obviously she is guilty of poor judgement: driving without a license, most likely also without insurance, no seatbelt! But, the mom in me today, just saw a scared little girl (I'm guessing she was in her late teens to early twenties), with no one there to support her. I hope that I was able to provide her with some comfort and support today, and the mom in me also hopes that this did in fact teach her a valuable lesson. Mistakes are a very valuable tool, as long as we learn from them.