This I Believe

Joel - LaGrange Park, Illinois
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Connections after an Accident

I believe in the connection between strangers in the aftermath of a hardship. A few years ago a car with three people in it flipped over and ran into the tree in front of my house. I was walking up the stairs to my room when I heard a crash and saw the tree outside my window shake. My family and I live just off of LaGrange road and cars are always whizzing by, but that day a minivan turned down our street too fast, flipped over, and hit our tree. Both adults rushed out of the front seat and the woman retrieved her toddler out of the center seat. I noticed another woman running down the street towards the accident with a cell phone.

My dad and me both ran down the stairs and invited them in to sit down. I gave them something to drink, and tried to help them figure out what had happened. I was also trying to calm them down because they were understandably in shock. None of them were injured in any way, and that was the most important part, but my dad and I still sat with them and tried to make them feel welcome. About a week later the family came back to our house and gave us a gift basket for helping them get through that ordeal.

I think it is human nature to help another person after a tragedy. I think it would have been somewhat evil if I didn’t do anything after the accident to help that family. I know I did the right thing by making them feel comfortable and welcome in a time that would otherwise be spent thinking about: “how are we going to pay for that”, and “what are we going to do now.”

The last thing that family should have done in my opinion is thank us. It’s not like I pulled them from their burning car, or gave their toddler CPR. In fact the woman that ran down the street and called the ambulance probably deserves more thanks than me. I only saw those three strangers for about an hour, but for some reason they decided to thank me and my family for everything we had done.

The fact that they came to our house a week later is heartwarming. I truly didn’t do anything any one else wouldn’t do. I guess everyone just needs someone to talk too when everything seems crazy, and those conversations really help those people. I will remember that day as the day a car crashed in front of my house, but I will also remember it as the day a thoughtful stranger made me feel helpful.