This is What You Can Learn from a Hit and Run

Photo by takahiro taguchi

One rainy afternoon I heard a loud crash just steps from my front door. The familiar clamor of steel against steel jolted me from what had been an uneventful day.

I raced outside to see a line of onlookers scanning the damage of a once impeccable Honda CRX. A woman who appeared to be in her late 60s ambled to the sidewalk in a daze.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” she said. “Did you see what happened?”

“No,” I told her. “But I heard everything.”

Just then, I looked down the street to see a young man fleeing from an equally mangled Pathfinder on the sidewalk.

The two of us spoke for nearly half an hour before a police officer finally arrived on the scene.

“Thank you for your help,” she said.

“No problem,” I told her before leaving for work.

What struck me about my interaction with this woman was her sense of poise throughout the entire ordeal. No once did she elude to the condition of her car, or the late response by law enforcement.

Most impressively, even in the midst of her physical and emotional whirl she managed to find space for compassion.

“He’s probably just a kid taking a joyride. Maybe the car’s stolen or uninsured. I’m sure he’s really scared. I just hope he’s okay.”

As I rounded the corner I took a final glance at her car. The driver side air bag had been deployed, the left side of her car crumpled. She spoke easily to the police officer before her husband picked her up and took her home.