For many of us, the New Year is a time of resolutions for the year ahead. An interesting experience on New Year’s Eve gave me pause to stop and reflect for a bit on the years that have passed, and to marvel in how far we’ve come.
Walking into a grocery store, I came upon an older gentleman who had fallen. A younger man was helping him up, and another man stopped to help him up too. The fall seemed serious, and considering the man’s age I went ahead and called “911.” The man got to his feet, and we soon saw a decent amount of blood on the side of his head and coming from his knee. All the while, I spoke to the 911 dispatch operator, relayed messages, and did my best to instruct him in how to stop the bleeding.
It soon became clear the man did not want help from the ambulance that was on its way, did not want instructions, and just wanted to get in his car and drive home. He was in no shape to do so. All of us that were assisting him tried to get him to stay put, but he pushed his way to the driver’s seat of his car, and literally pulled the door shut as I was standing in front of it. It was a rather terrifying moment of panic – this man was in no condition to drive, but I did as the operator said and stepped away so as not to put myself in danger.
The man started to back out, when thank heavens the fire engine pulled right up behind him. The man then intended to re-park his car, when he accidentally hit the gas instead of the break, and started to run over the curb stop. He would have hit me had he continued over the curb stop; fortunately, he found the brakes.
What does this after to do with anything? For me, in those few moments, I was so grateful for the first responders that work on our behalf day in and day out. It was amazing to me that the fire department and EMTs were there within minutes of my call.
My daughter often gives me a hard time about what things must have been like when I was a kid, “Did you have cars back then? Did you have phones?” Not that long ago, a 911 system like this would not have been in place.
And so, in the midst of tax bills signed late in the year, political and social troubles, I thought I would share my New Year’s Eve moment of gratitude for how far we’ve come.