This I Believe

phillip - Cohasset MN 55721, Minnesota
Entered on December 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Phil Matheson

Another Day at Work

Just this last summer I was in a car accident. I was just driving back to the job site in the company truck when out of nowhere a girl in a Toyota Camry pulled right out in front of me. I was going 55, and there’s no way to stop when you’re going that fast, so I tried to go around her. The only way that I could go was in front of her, and somehow I made it. There couldn’t have been more than a few inches between us, and it was a miracle that I didn’t hit her broadside.

After swerving around her, I was halfway off the road, and there was no way for me to stay on the road. I ended up hitting the ditch and digging a foot-and-a-half hole in the dirt. Then I bounced up in the air and landed again at a dead stop, digging another hole. My mind was completely blank. It all happened so fast that I didn’t even know what to think. I instantly got out of the truck to see the damages; it didn’t look good. Both of the front tires were bent completely in the wrong direction. The front axle was broken, and the drive shaft was bent and broken off. The oil pan was completely crushed, the engine was pushed up, and the engine mounts were broke. It looked horrible. Right away I knew I had totaled an almost new diesel Dodge Ram.

Once I surveyed the damage, I suddenly realized a couple of things that amazed me. First, I had two huge pulleys for pulling wire that weighed about fifty pounds each and a wood wire spool full of wire in the box of the truck. The wire spool and one of the pulleys hit the top of the cab right above the window, bounced, and landed about thirty feet in front of the truck. The other pulley hit the top of the box right below the window and pushed the front of the box all the way into the cab. If any one of those objects had hit the window, it would have came right through and probably would have taken off my head. Another thing that amazed me was that I had my seat belt on. I never wear my seat belt, but for some reason I had it on this time. If it wouldn’t have been on, I would have gone flying through the windshield. Instead I was able to walk out of the accident without even a scratch.

I never did hit the girl’s car, but the first thing the state patrol said to me when he got there, forty-five minutes later, was, “You saved a life today.” That hit me really hard, and I just stood there thinking about it for a long time. The hood on the truck that I was driving sat higher than the top of the other girl’s car. If I had made any other choice than the one that I did, her car would have been crushed into nothing. She may have been in the hospital for a long time, but more likely she would have been dead.

Her mom left work to come make sure everything was ok, and she couldn’t stop thanking me for not hitting her daughter’s car. I was pretty much in shock for a few hours because of everything that had happened. If I had stopped at the gas station or even just left my house a few seconds earlier, everything could have been different. I would have been there a second earlier or later, and she could have seen me coming, and not pulled out in front of me. Then the business could still have the same truck, and it would have been just a normal work day. The one split-second decision that I made had a huge impact on my life. I got to go truck shopping instead of going to a funeral.

You never know when something life changing is going to happen. This is why I believe every decision you make has a greater impact than you can ever possibly know. Every choice that you make, changes your life in some way, and you’ll never know if it’s for the better or worse.