Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Faith In My Fellow Humans

It’s sad that we live in a society where so many people have lost faith in each other, in humanity. Violence, murder, selfish lawsuits... unfortunately, living in a large city, this is a part of everyday life. I grew up in a small town. Small towns are a world unto themselves. We didn’t lock our doors, we said hello to each other, we waved to strangers, that’s how we rolled. My daughter recently waved to a neighbor from down the street…he looked at her and drove on…didn’t even smile. How can you resist a toothless 7 year old in pig tails? It broke my heart. I guess I’ve been frustrated with life in a big city, and consequently the behavior of the city’s’ people for some time now. It took a car accident to restore my faith in my fellow human beings.

I was driving back from Target. I only had K in the car, very unusual, I usually have all three. But it was a Sunday, so I wanted to make a special mommy and me time for just K and I. Driving home, there was a Honda Civic in front of me. The car in front of him slammed on his brakes and swerved, the Honda swerved, and unfortunately, I couldn’t swerve without hitting oncoming traffic…so bam. I rear ended the 2008 Honda Civic. We immediately pulled to the side of the road. K was fine (her main concern was whether or not mommy was going to jail). I got out of the car, worried to death that someone might be hurt. I have to admit that I was also worried that whomever I’d hit was going to get out screaming and yelling (not a scene I wanted my child to see). I needn’t have worried. I had hit a young 20 year old man, driving back from a weekend away with a friend. I felt so awful I was almost crying. I didn’t even worry about the damage to my van, I just felt so horrible that I’d cracked his bumper. He was very nice about things, telling me these things happen, everyone was fine, no worries. We called the police who came, ticketed me, and sent us on our way.

After I got home, I started to stress. I know a woman (luckily not a friend of mine) who was rear ended and sued the other driver…for $80,000! Now, I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck don’t have $80,000. I also know my good friend “C” had gone through a horrible ordeal due to rear ending the “wrong person”. I knew the other driver was okay, and the policeman was careful to document everything to make sure there were no injuries. But what if he did sue me? Face it, we live in a sue happy society. It’s horrible. I had a hard time sleeping that night. The next day I got a phone call from the boy’s mom. She wanted to make sure I was okay!! I was flabbergasted. I told her we were fine and how sorry I was about her son’s car. She was so nice about everything, very empathetic (they’d been in a similar situation a few months ago, but they were at the other end…the cause of the accident). Long story short, this family was so nice, so gracious, it just surprised me. It put things into perspective.

Yes, there are people who will sue you for looking at them wrong. But there are still good people in this world. There are still people who genuinely care for others, decent human beings. My faith in humanity has been restored by one family. One family being human, being caring. It’s crazy how something so little can make such an impact. One little act of decency is all it took. After all was said and done, the insurance claim filed, I returned the act. I called the family and thanked them. I explained to them how grateful I was for their kindness. I wanted to let them know how much I appreciated how they had handled the situation. Imagine that. A car accident where no one yelled, no one screamed, no one got sued, and the participants involved were kind to each other. That’s how life should be (well, without the whole car accident thing ; ).


Melany said...

I like how you described it, those moments where the world is out to help themselves no matter who it hurts. I'm glad this didn't happen to you and I think I'd feel just as happy about the outcome had I been in the same situation.

Hope the van is ok!

Deirdre said...

Thanks, Mel.I can't even describe how relieved I was when the family called me to check on us. It's definitely not what I was expecting. The van's a tank, it's hardly dented at all. Can't say the same for the Honda's bumper!