Watching curves, speeding, and why compassion is still alive…

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~Dalai Lama

Wine is not tasty.My distaste for it might be because I saw a video once where they made it with their bare feet. It’s not that I think wine tastes like feet but that acquired taste people say you need in order to appreciate wine, hasn’t been acquired yet.

Great summer night out.

A few weeks ago we took some friends and the kids to a Maryland winery for a summer concert. Due to my inability to digest wine at all, I was tasked with driving home. The concert was great, I was told the wine was great, and my kids dropped it like it was hot on the dance floor. As the night came to a close, I was in charge of rounding up those who have no wine digestion issues and getting them to the van. My kids, after polishing off their 8th juice box, were exhausted from the long day and slipped into the back seat with no problems. My wife and friends of ours did the Wine Stumble into the remaining ones. After a few minutes of parking lot traffic, we were able to get out of there and proceed down the dark and remote single lane back road.

It was dark out there.

After a few minutes of travelling I noticed a single headlight blaring into my back window. The speed limit was 40 and due to my unfamiliarity with the road, I was sticking to that. The motorcycle behind me though wasn’t happy with my plan. To show its distaste, it crossed the double yellow line, throttled the accelerator, passed me, and shot off into the dark.

Truth be told I didn’t pay it much mind. I knew I was going slow. Within minutes of being passed, I came to a nasty 90 degree left turn in the road, which caused me to slow to 15 MPH. After I successfully navigated the turn, I was surprised to see a single headlight blaring into the sky 30 feet away. Attached to the headlight was a mangled motorcycle laying in the middle of the road, and a motionless body, several feet away, lying on their back. I punched the brake, threw it into park, grabbed my nearly dead DROID Incredible, which had been charging, and dialed 9-1-1.

From tragic to hopeful.

Within minutes of parking the van, people who had been behind us on the road had stopped. Several people had gathered around the woman who was now moving and trying to sit up. They were talking to her “You’ll be fine.” “No, no…lay back down.” Her head was bloody and she was complaining about her elbow but she was alive. I noticed the tire marks from where she had clearly underestimated the left turn, ended up on the embankment of the road, bent a street sign completely over, and chipped away pieces of a telephone pole. Besides the fact that she was alive, what had also amazed me was watching the people. No one knew this woman and yet here they were huddled over her, talking, trying to keep her calm. Some were directing traffic behind me and trying to route people down another road. I saw a woman crying by her car while she pointed in the motorcyclists direction.

I smiledI smiled.

I took a minute to look around at the scene and smiled. You’ll probably find it funny to do something like that while staring at a mangled bike, tire tracks, a bent sign, and a blood patch on blacktop but I couldn’t help it. I was just given a reminder that human nature isn’t so bad, despite what time and news reports might say.

People can be pretty ignorant.

The week before while driving home from work, I had a gentlemen drive up beside me and prevent me from changing lanes. As he was doing it, he turned toward me and waved. I was aggravated then at his ignorance. His act, as I stood outside my parked van on that remote Maryland back road, seemed even more ridiculous and dis-compassionate. Here were people that didn’t know the lady laying in the road and yet they showed such compassion for her well being. You see? It is in us.

Go be compassionate towards someone today.

Even if you aren’t going to be compassionate today, it’s good to know that at the worst of times, while you’re laying in the middle of the road with your head all bloody and your elbow hurting, that people will be there to help you. That might not be good enough at those times where someone prevents you from changing lanes but I know it’s at least something to make me smile.

Thanks for Identity Photogr@phy from Flickr for the pictures.

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