The Kindness of Strangers
Driving home at dusk last night, I started up the I-70 ramp from 6th Avenue when I noticed the traffic was stopped, and people were running on the road. I was tired from sitting for almost five hours in the Jeffco Stadium where my granddaughter was in a track meet. My first reaction was frustration mixed with impatience. What was the delay? What was going on? I couldn’t see anything, but clearly there was a problem just a short distance ahead of me.
Then two young guys left the car in front of me, went running up the ramp and suddenly stopped. There, about four cars ahead, was a large object in the middle of the road. In the dusk, I couldn’t tell at first what it was – an elk or a human. I soon learned it was a man, unmoving, who had fallen from his motorcycle. My impatience quickly turned to concern.
“Has anyone called 911 yet?” I shouted.
“Yes,” one of the guys called back. “He’s bleeding badly. We need something to stop the blood.” A woman who had just left her car pulled off her white jacket.
“Here!” she said.
Some drivers, not knowing what was happening, tried to go around us.
“You have to make room for the ambulance. Don’t block the highway,” we warned.
While a few cars made their way past the scene, most stopped. Several motorists got out of their cars to see if they could help. In one, there was providentially a doctor and a nurse who ministered to the driver until the ambulance arrived.
“He’s talking. I thought he was going to bleed out, but he’s talking,” the woman who had given up her jacket exclaimed with relief after the victim had been loaded into the ambulance.
The two men parked in front of me approached my car and explained what had happened. “He was trying to catch up to a friend and he fishtailed and lost control,” they said.
“Thanks for all you did,” I answered.
Another woman came over and reported that the police wanted us to turn around on the narrow ramp and head back onto Sixth Avenue. She waited and helped me navigate a five-point turn. I was shaken and drove home with extra care. And I was feeling deep gratitude for the kindness of my fellow travelers.
Strangers, brought together in a moment of tragedy, showed compassion and loving-kindness. There were no Democrats or Republicans, no liberals or conservatives…just a group of people coincidentally in the same place at the same time, helping each other.
So, the next time I am bemoaning the state of our world – global warming, a shrinking water supply, a divided Congress, increased antisemitism – I will try to recall dusk on the I-70 ramp to help restore my faith in humanity. As long as there is kindness, there is hope.