I see you. I see each and every one of you. I see you on your phones, not paying attention. But more importantly than me seeing you, Claire sees you as well. She’s learning to drive, and she sees you paying more attention to your phone than the road and the multi-thousand pound weapon you are driving.
This morning, I saw first hand what happens when you don’t effing pay attention. I saw the accident you caused. I saw the damage to the cars. They’re just cars, they’re replaceable. But the people in the cars aren’t.
I was minding my own business, driving home when it all played out right in front of me. An old gold Tahoe coming toward me jumped the curb, threw gravel all over the road, nearly flipped over and then came to land on all four tires. I pulled over as she stopped her car. Her face was frozen in pure, unadulterated terror. The tears began to streak down her face as she realized she was in one piece. I was across the street from her and I saw the carseat in the back. My hazard lights went on, and I jumped out to go to her.
“Are you okay?” I peaked in the back of the car, “No babies in here?” She was crying in earnest now.
She had just dropped her daughter off at daycare, she said. Her voice was hoarse and the words were stilted as she tried to absorb the shock of nearly flipping over. Thankful. Her daughter wasn’t with her. But then she stepped out of the car. The baby bump was visible. She’s 23 weeks pregnant with her second little one.
I brought her to the safety and warmth of my car. I sat with her, chatting with her and reassuring her that all was going to be well. She called her husband. He was on the way. She was getting ready to call her OBGYN. There were no visible injuries. Pray that the baby she’s carrying is okay. Please.
The other car was a mangled mess. The hood was ripped off and the front end was completely smashed. The driver of the other car wasn’t paying attention. She was looking for a meeting place. She wasn’t from around here. She didn’t see the stop sign. The other car. The mangled one. It t-boned the Tahoe.
She wasn’t effing paying attention. Her car and the Tahoe are wrecked. That’s insignificant compared to what could have happened. The human toll is what hit me today. Behind the wheel of every car is a person. A living, breathing person. Someone who means the world to their family. Someone who is depending on you to effing pay attention.
Watch for traffic signals. Stop at stop signs. Plan your escape route in every traffic situation. And get off your damn phones so you can fucking pay attention! There I said it. I want each and every one of you to fucking pay attention.
Today, hopefully, was a “lucky” day for all involved. Today, everyone walked away without a cut or bruise on them. Cars are replaceable. People aren’t.