Do You Hear The Smoke

My wife and I were returning from a visit with our son in Lancaster, Pa. on a bright, sunny Sunday morning. As we were traveling up the highway, we came to a curve in the road and as we rounded that curve, we came upon a car that had just crashed into the guard rail on the left side of the road. We couldn’t have been a minute behind that wreck. I immediately asked my wife to call 911 on our cell phone as I was pulling over behind another vehicle that had stopped as well. I got out of my car and while dodging vehicles coming up the highway, I made it across to the now smoking vehicle that had gone off the road and crashed headlong into the guard rail. There was clothing and other items strewn near the car, on the other side of the guard rail and the front end of the car was extremely damaged. There was smoke coming out from under the car’s hood which obviously was very concerning as well. The gentleman who was driving the other car that had stopped in front of me was already at the side of the car. He was trying to get the elderly woman who was driving, out of the car but the driver’s door was damaged to the point where opening the door was going to be difficult. After he tried a couple of times to open the door, I said that I would try as well. I pulled very hard with no luck. I then put my foot up on the passenger door and yanked as hard as I could on the driver’s door and, not knowing where the strength came from, the driver’s door popped open. We assisted the woman (she had a head cut which was bleeding but other than that, she seemed fine……embarrassed, but fine). We immediately realized that the woman was deaf. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when the other gentleman said that his daughter, who was waiting across the road in his car, knew sign language. This was one of the most unbelieveable coincidences that I’ve ever seen…….ever ! We got the woman back across the road and put her into the gentleman’s car and the injured woman then “told” us that there was a piece of paper in her car with her daughter’s phone number on it. I ran back to her car, dodging other cars and listening to some of the drivers calling me names for “holding them up” (it was disheartening to think that people can be that callus because they obviously could see the car that had wrecked). I went back to the wrecked car and started looking for that scrap of paper with the phone number, all the while my wife was yelling across the road to stay out of the smoking car (she was on the phone with the police the entire time and they were saying to stay away from the car, that it could go up in flames at any moment). Ignoring my wife for the moment, I went into the car and tried to find that scrap of paper. The inside of the car had things thrown all about from the impact of the crash so finding that paper was going to be difficult, to say the least. As I was looking, I gathered up things that I thought the woman may need from the car. After picking up her suitcase from the other side of the guard rail and filling it with everything that I could find, I went back into the car one more time to try to find that phone number. I was just about to stop looking when I noticed just the tip of the paper on the floor of the back seat area. I reached down, saw that it had a phone number on it and thought that had to be it. I took everything back across the road, again dodging cars and listening to the people swearing at me. The look on that woman’s face was my gift that day. She was so appreciative of the help that we were able to give to her. By then we knew that she had fallen asleep at the wheel which caused her to have the accident. Her head cut had been cleaned up and she looked shaken up but otherwise fine. My wife and I stayed on the scene until the emergency vehicles arrived (about 10 minutes) and after speaking with the police and telling them what had transpired, we were on our way back home again. We drove for about 10 minutes before I pulled over again on the side of the road and my wife asked me why we were stopping. I couldn’t speak…….I just cried. I hadn’t cried like that for a very long time. I didn’t know whether it was because I was still so pumped with adrenaline or because I was thinking of my own mother (who was approximately the same age as the woman in the accident) or exactly what it was……..but I can tell you that I felt so much better after I let it all out. So, while I know my gift to that woman was helping her that day, her gift to me was so much greater. Just the look on her face was the greatest gift I could have ever received that day. I thank God that I was able to be there at the right time (and I know I was there for a reason).

By: Jeff Daws

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