Kindness and compassion – where have they gone?

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In the past, I’ve written about several friends who do wacky things. This is not one of them. This friend has had a terrible car accident and I want you to know how these things can go … sometimes.
My friend lives in the Hilliard area and was on Rome Hilliard Road when it happened. She was proceeding through the green traffic light that was just turning yellow when she was hit in the intersection. The car that hit her turned left right into her car demolishing the front of it and setting off the airbag. Fortunately she was alone and says she doesn’t even remember the bag going off. She just remembers being pinned in her seat, seatbelt fastened, of course, and the bag pressing on her chest. It was a crushing pain, but she realized, otherwise she seemed OK.
If you’ve ever had an accident, you know what a scary time this can be. To add insult to injury, the four people who were young men in the other car came to the side of her car and started screaming at her, saying that she caused the accident. I believe they were trying to make their case right away!
At that point, all she wanted was help. She explained how her chest hurt and she was pinned behind this airbag and could they help her?  They said no, and continued to scream at her.
Then she asked for them to call 911. Again they refused and continued to berate her calling her an old woman. Really! If you could see this gal, she looks like she’s 40 when she’s in her 60s. Where is the respect for another human being? This treatment was so unbelievable. As she told the story, I know my jaw dropped. How could people be so lacking in compassion?
She finally managed to reach across the seat and get her cell phone. She dialed 911 and proceeded to ignore the men, who were still yelling at her. She knew she couldn’t be at fault here, but didn’t feel up to arguing the fact.
It was also interesting that even though her car was seriously damaged, no one stopped as they drove by. They just looked at her and went on. No one offered help even when they saw these men harassing her from outside her car. The police couldn’t believe no one stopped to help her get out of her car and there was no witness to the accident to help her corroborate her story. No one stopped to offer an account. In the future remember how helpful you could be if you witness an accident!
When the dispatcher answered her call, my friend explained that she was hurt and needed help in an accident and she felt like she might be in danger from these young men who were continuing to hang around outside her car. The dispatcher stayed on the line with her and in three to four minutes there was a Columbus policewoman at her side and the squad arrived.
Of course, she said the police were wonderful as was the paramedic. After they got her out of the car to see if she was OK, she was taken to the hospital. Her chest felt like something had been pressing on it and was sore, but an x-ray showed she was alright and the airbag, even though uncomfortable, had probably saved her from serious injury.
When the police arrived at the hospital to get her statement, she explained what had happened and how the driver in the other car had caused the accident. As expected, they were claiming that she went through the red light, which she knows is not true. She told her side of the story and eventually the man was charged with turning left in front of her.
The next day, the insults continued. She and her friend went to the Columbus impound lot to get her car, which had been towed from the scene. Apparently the people at that lot deal with a lot of troubled souls and they treated her like she was one of them. She explained she needed to get her belongings out of her car, including some medicine.
The woman at the front gate screamed at her saying, “You can’t just take any old thing you want.” She was told to make a list and only those items could be taken. Now she was being treated like a criminal.
Her friend wanted to go in to help her since she had been injured in the accident and was hurting everywhere. That was not to be allowed. Only one person could go to the car, so she trudged back 38 rows, alone, in the mud, to get to her vehicle. It was tough looking at the car with no front end on it. It was amazing she survived so well.
She was unable to get the car seats for her grandchildren out of the car by herself, so she had to leave those. Then there was an argument when she got back to the front gate about what she took out of her car. The same woman treated her disrespectfully again.
My friend is very kind and soft-spoken. How twisted some people can be in the treatment of others.
But the lack of compassion continued. She told the woman that her insurance company would be coming for the car and the reply was, “Oh no they won’t. We have to have a notarized statement from you to release it.”
To comply, she continued on to her bank to get this statement done and when she came back to deliver it, there were more lines to stand in and the man in charge rudely took her paper and just yelled at her to move on. Where is our kindness to another human being?
A week later my friend is still sore. Fortunately, most of us will never know what it’s like to be hit by an airbag. She described it as having the wind knocked out of her and her chest feeling so heavy. It will just take a little time to get over this injury. Now she has a new car and is so grateful that there was no serious injury thanks to the airbag and seatbelt.
All in all, it was a horrible experience for her, she said, except for the swift kindness of the police and paramedics.
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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