Superheros live next door and aren’t cloaked in capes out of a Marvel comic book or billion dollar budget movies. Superheros are people~ ordinary, like you and I~ who find themselves in a position to do something that’s bigger than who they even thought they were.
In the very early morning hours yesterday, my son did something heroic. This isn’t a blog post to boast about him, though…this is a blog post to remind all of us that we can be extraordinary. All of us.
It started off with a text from him around noon that seemed a little suspect. “I’ve got to call you later and tell you something. Don’t worry, though.” Ohhhh……okay. First thought~ he got another ticket. Ugh. Second thought~ a fender bender. Ugh.
Instead of imagining all kinds of scenarios, I sent him a text back to please call now. Of course I was going to worry until I spoke to him.
It turns out that around 3am, my son happened to come across a car accident that had just occurred a moment prior. It appeared to him to not be serious and he instructed the girl who was driving to just go around it. But, for some reason, Nick changed his mind and got out of the car, walked past the vehicle on the street and found a second vehicle in a ditch. It was there that he found the passenger of that car, clearly in shock and walking around in panic, dialing 911. There was extensive damage to the drivers side of the vehicle and when Nick put his head through the window that had been condensed as a result of the impact, he found a driver struggling to breathe; unconscious and pinned to the steering wheel. Nick described his breathing as “snoring” which he later found out is a sign of collapsed lungs. Encouraged that the driver eventually moaned when Nick would speak to him and, instructed by a nurse who came upon the scene, he continued to talk to him and provide reassurance that help was on the way….until he realized there was also a young man lying in the back seat, also struggling to breathe and bleeding from his nose.
There are moments in our lives when a split second decision is made~ an immediate reaction to a situation beyond our control. He knew that moving an accident victim was something to be avoided yet he also knew this young man was going to asphyxiate in that position. The nurse yelled not to move him but Nick pointed out that he wasn’t able to breathe so she, too, made a split second decision and agreed. Sit him up, support him, help him breathe.
And he did. Nick supported this boy in an upright position until paramedics arrived. Pulses for both the driver and the backseat passenger were faint, my son said, but there. Both continued to have labored breathing but they were holding on…the boy in an upright position, seemingly, having less difficulty than he did lying down. Nick has no idea of how long he spent coaxing these boys to live before help arrived but, of course, it seemed like forever.
The “jaws of life” were used to free the young men from the wreckage and Nick was, understandably, moved away to make room for the professionals.
It wasn’t until my son woke up yesterday morning and researched the accident that he found out the driver, a senior at FSU, had succumbed to his injuries on the scene. The young man who had been propped up against my son as he struggled for air, has survived.
My son is “processing” the loss of someone he didn’t know but who heard his voice as possibly the last thing before passing away. My son is also “processing” the very great possibility that he saved a life; giving the backseat passenger the minutes he desperately needed until help arrived.
And we, his parents, are processing too. Processing how incredibly proud we are of him to get involved, trust his instincts, provide comfort, be the hands and feet of Christ and do the “right” thing. Naturally, we are also processing the massive heartache and mourning that is happening for this extinguished life. And, selfishly, questioning “What if it had been our son?”
Tragic. Disastrous. Life altering.
But, Nick, you did something heroic. You provided compassion and we thank God you were on the outside of that car, reaching in and reaching out.
“Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.” ~Saint Teresa of Avila
Be blessed, friends….and tell people how much you love them.