Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slow Down, Breathe, and Smell the Roses

Wow, people are in a hurry lately! Yes, often that includes me but I've saw a couple things yesterday encouraging me to slow down. Yesterday, while making a left turn with the light a woman in a BMW didn't stop at the light, or even slow down. Luckily we swerved and she didn't hit us. Was she trying to beat a yellow light (with no chance of making it) or did she not see that it had turned red? Was the one minute that she was going to "save" be THAT important?

Last night, while making the interchange between I-395 and I-80 (commonly called the "Spaghetti Bowl" by locals for it's design) there was a semi with 2 trailers that was going too fast and the second trailer flipped over on it's side. The lane was blocked off, lots of State patrol cars managing the accident and all I could wonder is what made that one minute of time so important that he couldn't slow down?

A few months back, driving down I-395 the traffic suddenly slowed down. Cars in the middle lane were moving to the right and left. As I got up behind the problem I saw a car had stopped in the middle lane with a flat tire. There was a Les Schwab tire truck behind it so I thought, okay, at least they're getting help. No, sadly, the Les Schwab truck was ALSO just trying to get around the car. So I pulled my truck over and went back. There was a girl, roughly 18 or 19 who had gotten a flat tire and didn't know what to do. So she stopped. In the middle of a 3 lane freeway... I told her to go ahead and pull her car over to the shoulder but unfortunately while sitting there her car ran out of gas (apparently she was on her way to the gas station). So I flagged down 2 pickups that had a couple guys in it (almost got in front of them to stop them) and told them to help us push her to the shoulder. They got her onto the left shoulder and then they left... She's practically a kid and she's scared and no one is helping her.

So I decided I'd help her change the tire and then we could go get her some gas. Mind you, we're on the left shoulder. As in, next to the fast lane. I've never changed a tire and of course neither had she but it didn't look that hard. So we got started. About then the State Trooper pulls up (he had gotten a call about a stalled vehicle). He can't help us change the tire because it's department policy or something but at least he blocked half of the fast lane with his vehicle so we wouldn't die. We got the tire changed and we got her some gas. She was on her way.

And I wondered. Hundreds of people had passed her. They had seen us struggling to change a tire in the middle of traffic at lunch time. And the only souls who had stopped to help at all were the guys who I made stop and told them to help (not exactly voluntary) and the Trooper for whom it was his job. Where were these people going in such a hurry that they couldn't stop to help someone or at least see if she needed to borrow their cell phone to call for help? What is wrong with people today?

In the last two years I have picked up a woman and her daughter who were stranded when their car broke down. I have lent my cell phone to a few people in accidents. I stopped twice in one day when people had accidents in the snow on a highway in Oregon and no one else would stop to help or direct traffic when traffic in both directions was trying and failing to share a single open lane. When we had a huge snow storm here a few years ago many people started getting stuck every time they used a side street because the city couldn't keep the streets cleared so I carried a shovel in my van to help get them out.

I just think that it's so sad that everyone is too busy to help others for a few minutes of their time. So please, whatever you're doing today, stop and smell roses. Help someone who looks like they could use it. Even just smile at a stranger and say hello as you walk by. It's amazing what kind of a difference that moment can make.


  1. I completely agree - people are always in a hurry. I passed a woman slowing up traffic on the interstate because she was texting instead of driving. She had slowed traffic to 60 in a 70 zone and was causing hazardous conditions as people were trying to pass her.

  2. I have to sadly agree. What is wrong with people? Seriously. Then when they have trouble it all changes.

    Self centered ingenuous people are my biggest pet peeve of lately.

    This post has given me a sense of happiness knowing that there are a few good people out there. Keep doing what you are doing and good will will shine on you.

    :) Jules


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