We’re all in this together, a New Year’s Resolution.
It was mid to late 2003. Gina and I had just returned from our first trip to the UK. Our daughter Lucy was about 18 months old and we were nearing the completion of building our first Australian home. Work was about 50 minutes from where we were living with family, and on this particular morning I had left the house a few minutes later than I would have liked. I took the usual route, keeping the power down on the old V8 to make up those lost minutes. I changed lanes. I changed lanes again. The traffic was a little thinner than usual as I exited the expressway, and whilst the speed limit dropped from 100kph (60mph) to 80kph (50mph), I kept the power down.
I was travelling just under 90kph when I hit the cyclist.
The impact was significant. Sufficient to smash the headlight and indicator of the car and to shatter the windscreen. The man whom I had struck went flying through the air, and his bike was destroyed under the wheels of my car. When I first saw him, he was lying unconscious next to the front wheel, his helmet was split in two and there was blood surrounding his head.
“Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.” That’s what the Police officer said to me in the cubical where I was interviewed. “Why were you going so fast?” That’s what an Ambulance Officer said to me on the road side, but I never answered him.
But, I don’t know the name of the person who spoke the most important words that day. In the seconds following the accident I stood, in shock, looking on helplessly, and from a passing car that could have been no more than two feet away came the words. The driver didn’t stop, in fact I couldn’t even tell you what type of car he drove.
“Pull his tongue out of his mouth.” That’s what the stranger said to me.
I bent down, on one knee and pushed two fingers into the broken man’s mouth and scooped his tongue forward. He immediately inhaled, in a gasping, living breath.
Do you believe in fate? Or luck? Perhaps you believe in God, and that an Angel was driving in Adelaide that day? I’m not qualified to answer any of those questions, but I do know this.
We’re all in this together.
Whoever he was, he had my back that day. The impact those words had on that day cannot be understated. What could have been? The man, whose name was Zeneck, had two stitches and a night in hospital for observation. What would the impact have been without those words? What of my life? Of Gina’s, Lucy’s and Oscar who had not yet been born?
It’s New Year’s Eve 2014, and like many people, I consider what I would like for the coming year. What do I resolve to do and achieve for my life in the next year? The list is a long one – I’m keen to continue travelling and see more places. I want to study new skills in web design. I want to take my career to a place where I can generate income from wherever I am. I want to learn Italian. I want to take more photos and improve my photography. I want to spend quality time with the kids, and guide their home schooling. I want to live a healthy life.
It’s an action packed year! Maybe, a bit too action packed.
But, in all that, I reflect on that day when that stranger spoke those words on the side of a road in Adelaide, and in that is my New Year’s resolution.
In 2015, I resolve to listen more. To be kind to others who deserve it. To be kind to those who don’t. To contribute to others the skills and time that I can. To look people in the eyes and not in the cell-phone. To put first things first and let the rest sort itself out. To buy less and do more. To see a person in need and say – do you need a hand.
I resolve to be the guy that has got your back.
Because life is short and it is how we treat each other that counts, and at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.
Happy New Year everyone.