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Not what I had planned…

What a weekend. I played golf with friends. I helped with a surprise 50th birthday celebration and still had Sunday waiting for me. Sunday comes around and there’s still tons more to do. There’s church, going to see my daughter and then a friend of mine has a really cool candle company that is celebrating the 1-year anniversary of the brick and mortar store. Sunday is shaping up to be a pretty full day.

Got up and went to church with my best buddy and wife, Miriam. We came home and caught up on some “Tivo”. Now it’s off to the Spirit Store for some scary stuff. Abby is having a day with the amount of folks coming in. She does a great job in handling her new-found responsibilities. Pretty impressed with her.

Now it’s time for the trip to Shining Sol for some bargains and fun. The store is in old town Manassas. I’m going to park a few blocks away and walk over. I’m driving slowly towards parking. A miracle.

BOOM! I slam on the breaks. There is a kid laid out on my hood. What just happened?

My first instinct was to make sure this kid was OK. He was a little bit dazed and his leg was not right. There are people everywhere. As I look around to see what was going on, I ask the young man to call his parents immediately. I tell him I am going to call the emergency services. I hear a voice say, “I called 9-1-1. Are you OK”. I continue to get the young man settled down. My instincts are still on auto-pilot to focus on the kid. His friend has returned to the scene so I put them both in the back seat of my car to relax while we wait for the medical team. Across the street there are people from the restaurants coming out to see what happened. The new friend who called 9-1-1 happens to be a Capital police officer. He starts to manage the scene until help arrives. I move my car so I am not blocking both lanes of traffic. A train is coming. Nobody is getting off this block for now.

As the emergency services teams show up, more and more people are coming over to let me know they saw the whole thing and not to worry. Truthfully, I was worried. I was worried that his kid was fine on the outside but had something worse going on under his skin. I was worried that a million things can go wrong here. My focus remained on this youngster and his comfort and health.

The medical team has taken the young man to get a look at him and take him to the hospital for further information. As the police officer is interviewing me, a gentleman comes up and offers his info and to testify that he saw everything and there was nothing I could do. The child ran out between the cars without looking.

My friend from earlier spoke to the police as well. He reiterated what had already been said.

The office interviews the child who says that it was his fault for not looking.

A woman comes up to me and lets me know that she thinks she knows me and starts to ask how I could stop so quickly. Truthfully, I don’t know.

I’m back with the officer and another gentleman pushing his child in a stroller comes up to us. He explains that he saw everything and lets me know that he is proud of how I handled the situation and stayed focused on the kid. It is at this point that I am no longer fine. I can’t hold back the fear and doubt any longer. I don’t have anything left of my brave face. I am feeling physically ill. I am crying. I am shaken. I feel scared. I am not in control. The officer asks me if I can drive my car out of the street and do I feel up to driving? She is very compassionate in her words and actions and makes me feel at ease. I explain to her that I’m going to park the car and walk this off. We meet at the parking lot and finish up our work.

When I get to the parking lot I realize that I haven’t let anyone know where I am. I call Miriam. What an incredible woman she is. She is calm and just the sound of her voice lets me know that everything will be OK. I’m going to walk it off and come home in a little bit. She lets me know she will do whatever it takes to help. I know that whatever happens, Miriam will be there. She always has been. The office comes over to me. She leaves me with her information and the information about the case. We part ways.

As I’m walking to finish my plans for the day, I start to run through the whole thing again. “What if” seems to be the question of the day.

Finally, I make it to Shining Sol. I walk in and I realize that the adrenaline is gone. The rush of angst is coming over me. I need to find a safe spot to decompress and get my head back on straight.

Elizabeth is one of the super star people at Shining Sol. We’ve talked off and on and have become friends. On this day, I will find out just how special a person she is. She was very comforting and allowed me to regain my focus and get myself together so I could get back to my car and get back home. She was and is a very kind and gentle person. She didn’t ask for my drama that day. She helped a friend and for that I am grateful.

On the way out of the parking area, I see one of the gentleman that shared information with the officer. I go up to him and thank him again for his assistance. He replies back that he was doing what we should all do and he thanked me for staying on the scene and taking care of the kid.

When I walk in to my house I feel the tension subside. I’m still nervous and scared.

Later, the officer calls me to let me know the young man is 13 and that his family is with him and that he will most likely not have any long-term problems. Thank God he is going to be OK.

It’s days later and I’m still a little distracted by the events of Sunday. The what if scenarios continue to give me pause. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about all of the strangers and friends that stepped up. I can’t stop thinking about that young man and how this could have gone a thousand different ways. I can’t stop feeling a debt of gratitude to so many people.

Once again, I am reminded that there are things far more important than what I had planned...

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