Friday, November 17, 2006
I never thought I’d think of myself as old fashioned. I don’t think I’m old enough for my mindset to be too far out of date. That said, today I’m left wondering how people can go through life in such a self-absorbed fashion they may as well be wearing blinders.
If you don’t know what blinders are, pay attention to the next horse-drawn carriage you see.
Two events have made me start wondering about this.
About a month ago I was returning to DC from Salt Lake City. My flight had been delayed and therefore I arrived a little after midnight at Washington’s Dulles airport. About 1:00 in the morning I was driving down the road when I passed through an intersection. To my left I heard a squeal of brakes followed by the unmistakable sound of metal, fiberglass, and rubber crunching against one another. If you’ve never heard the sound of two cars crashing into each other, its not one you’ll soon forget.
This was a pretty well traveled road, and even at the late/early hour there were several cars in the immediate vicinity. Both cars involved were pretty much totaled. I pulled over to the median and was the first person to arrive on the accident scene.
I was not the first person to pass the accident. Cars went through the intersection, one after another, weaving their way around the debris from the involved cars. One woman was pretty shaken up and the Jaws of Life had to be used to extricate her from her car. That’s another sound that is forever imprinted on my memory.
I stuck around the accident scene until the first responders arrived. There wasn’t much I could do for the trapped woman except attempt to calm her where she was. I did what I could. The thought of doing less never entered my mind. What struck me as odd was the drivers who could witness such a horrific accident and then just drive on by.
Then this morning I was walking to my office when I saw a Chrysler PT Cruiser limping along with a flat front tire. The woman at the wheel was having a lively conversation with her no doubt exasperated husband about her situation. I knocked on her window and asked her if she needed assistance and we proceeded to remove the shredded pieces of rubber that used to be the front tire. All told, it took me about 20 minutes to change the tire.
Note to Chrysler: Hiding the release bolt for the spare tire in the plastic door seal may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but you might want to make it a little more obvious. That would definitely cut down on the amount of searching necessary to release the spare tire. Thanks.
Again, it wasn’t rocket science. Somebody needed help with something I’m halfway good at doing so I did what I could. Nevertheless, people wandered by intent on getting to their destination. Only one other person offered a hand. As he was in a Brooks Brother’s suit and I had already put the donut tire in place, I thanked him for the offer but politely declined.
There is a pervasive school of thought in today’s society that someone else will help. Someone else can offer that assistance. Well, eventually that someone else has to be somebody. People have the choice as to whether or not they’ll be that someone else or not.
I’m not trying to blow my own horn or make myself out to be better than I am. I’m a big believer in the “Reap what you sow” concept. Most of the tires I’ve had to change have been done at night, in the rain, and on a 6% grade. Today’s tire was changed on a flat surface in broad daylight. I do believe, in the end, someone really is keeping score.
I guess some days I’m just glad when adding a little to my score only requires me to change a tire and not move a mountain.
Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Doctrine & Covenants 6:33