February 4, 2008

Wife, Mother, and Angel: Part II


My fear, after learning that my wife saved a little boy from choking to death, was that if circumstances were different and the boy died, we could have been sued. Also, my experiences as a police officer were often that things weren’t always as they seemed. She could have rolled onto the scene of a homicide attempt and been a victim herself. Granted, I usually assume the worst; but in this case, I was glad she stopped for that poor family and applied her skills. There’s a happy eleven your old kid running around today who may or may not be aware of my wife's extraordinary efforts to save his life.

That one event would have been enough for anyone. Simply save one person from death and you’re a hero. But, my wife recently found herself in another situation where she felt compelled to act. This past summer, in September, she was coming home from work along her usual route where the Northern State Parkway ends and merges with Route 347. This is a very dangerous and busy junction at any time of the day; but, at around 5:00pm, traffic is treacherous. Two main highways merge into one and accidents are abundant on these roads. As she drove along in the left lane which would take her out onto the center of route 347, she noticed a van parked precariously on the shoulder of the bypass. A woman was slouched against the driver’s door of the van. Once again, my wife was the only person out of hundreds who were passing by who noticed someone in distress. Stopping is not easy in that area, yet she kept a careful eye on the woman as she loomed in the rear view mirror. She made it into the right lane using her turning signal and the might and size of our large, Earth unfriendly, extended, Chevy Trailblazer (more on that vehicle in another post). She finally glided to a halt on the shoulder of the road about a hundred yards away from the imperiled woman and had to back up, rather dangerously to get to her.

By then, the woman had collapsed and was on all fours with her head exposed to speeding cars. My wife jumped from her vehicle and ran to her, calling out “Watch it, get out of the road!” as she sprinted over. There was a constant hum and whooshing of automobiles darting by and the woman was oblivious to the drama she faced. This stranger, apparently disorientated, was crawling into the middle of a busy highway. My wife reached her, and by some miracle she was able to guide her to the front of the woman's van for safety. The woman held her stomach and complained of intense pain. It is interesting to note that no other motorist found it necessary to stop or even call for help. My wife’s call to 911 on her cell phone was the only report of this lady needing an ambulance. After asking what was going on, the woman told her that she was in agony, and that she was trying to get home in time to get her young son off the school bus as no one was available to get him for her. Then, the she passed out, unconscious and unresponsive. My wife placed a second call into 911 to alert them of her worsening condition. Shortly thereafter, she heard sirens.

The woman awoke to tell her that her cell phone was on the dashboard of the van and she needed to call a neighbor to get her son off the school bus. She was frantic, yelping in pain, attempting to stand, and my wife had to calm her down. She entered this stranger’s van, retrieved the cell phone, and handed it to the woman who was again unconscious. The police arrived first. All Suffolk County police officers are trained emergency medical technicians and they showed up with medical gear. The police interviewed my wife who gave them a full description of what happened. They were able to talk to the woman who became conscious once again. An officer called a neighbor who agreed to get the child off the bus and a police sector car was dispatched to the bus stop to make sure the child was secure.

An ambulance arrived with urgency, just in time because the woman lapsed again into unconsciousness. She was taken to the nearest hospital, but unlike her involvement in the past incident with the baby choking on food a decade earlier, my wife went straight home. I heard her tale, hugged her, kissed her, and told her how special she was. My concern for her safety was overshadowed by her bravery. Heroism does not come without risk, and I wish she didn’t have to risk anything. Like my wife, I was frustrated that no one else stepped up to the plate and did so much as place a phone call to aid a stranger in public who was clearly in need of emergency assistance. This woman found help, and at the right time. Maybe one day they’ll meet again under better circumstances. But really, how many times in your life do you see an angel?

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20 comments:

angesbiz said...

Well Mike, you see an angel everyday it seems :)

It does take something to stop on the side of the road and help people... strangers... and like you mentioned, the situation could have turned out badly for your wife, but she seems to have her own angels taking care of her and watching out for her.

I can't say that I have ever stopped by the side of the road, but I have offered food to a homeless man 3 times my size after I saw him rummaging through bins. He didn't take me up on the offer which was unfortunate for him, but bravery like your wife has is golden. I wouldn't worry too much about her... she seems to have a sense of what she is here for.

Great post!

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, she's Wonder Woman!! it is sad that no one else stopped to help, sign of the times. I agree with angesbiz, I really believe she has angels helping her kind spirit. When I saw part II I went and got chips,lol, love your stuff.

Anna said...

Wow, your wife is a real angel. It is almost like she is always at the right place at the right time to save everyone - a little boy, then mother. I am not very happy about all other drivers too, that tells you not many people care, and if they do, I think they just turn their heads away, so they can get to their destination. Thanks for sharing this story about your wife, a hero. Anna :)

Swubird said...

Mr. Grudge:

Truly a fantastic story. Your wife is beyond description in her willingness to help others at her own risk - mortal risk! This kind of unselfishness is very rare.

No one called 911. That's disgusting, but maybe not all that unexpected. In one of my college classes, way back in the day, we studied that kind of behavior. It seems that the greater the number of people who witness the event, the less likely it is that any one of them will offer assistance. It's not vicious disregard. It's just that each person assumes that the other person will call it in, or in your example, call 911. That's the data talking, but when something happens in real life, it's hard to swallow.

Great post. I can't imagine what you're going to write next post that will top this one.

Have a nice day.

Paul said...

What a fitting, but incredible sequel, Mike. Did the driver manage to get in contact with your wife after the event? Was there any follow-up to this incident and your wife's public spiritedness? There should be a Good Samaritan award for her.

Paul

joderebe said...

I have to agree with Angesbiz Mike. You see your angel every day. It takes courage to stop and act. And yes it amazes me that most people don't, probably because of the legal issues I guess.
Once again your writing amazes me. Truly creative, well worded and highly emotional. Loved it.
~JD

Andrew Ruth said...

Great post Mike. You have so many amazing stories. It's very special the people that are in your life. I hope all is well!

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Ange,
I never thought of it that way, that my wife had her own angels looking out for her. Thanks for the different perspective. You did a kind thing offering food to the homeless man, but one can only do so much, especially if the man did not want help. And, yes, my wife is a brave one, isn't she? Thank you so much, Ange. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Bob, She my Wonder Woman for sure. But, she's not a Lynda Carter type, tall brunette with big hair. She's my petite Italian babe with dark hair and a beautiful smile. I'm glad you like my blog. I enjoy my readers very much. In the future, be so kind as to bring some beer with your chips please? lol. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Anna, Yes, she was in the right place at the right time in both instances. As for others driving past and doing nothing, I can definitely say that they thought it was someone else's problem. Sad. Thank you for your kind comments and your thoughtful contributions here. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Swubird, I also was taught what you learned in college when I was in the police department. It's a group psychology phenomena where everyone thinks that if no one is doing anything, then either it's okay to let it happen, or that someone has already done something but help hasn't arrived. Confusing concept, in a way. But definitely observable, especially in this last case with my wife. Thanks so much for your contribution and kind words. I am glad you are one of my readers and I respect your writing the way you teach your audience when you write. Thank you. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Paul, Sadly my wife never had any contact with the woman again. She had no way of getting a hold of her. Also, the situation was draining for her and I think she just wanted to forget the whole incident. As for an awards for being a Good Samaritan, I would heap a pile of them upon her, but she is too humble. You're a kind man for suggesting one for her. Thank you so much for reading my stories, Paul. You're a writer who's words I am coming to appreciate more and more when I read your blog. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi JD,
Thank you so much for your kind words about my writing. When I recount an incident such as this with my wife, my only goal is to get the details down on paper and not be too wordy about it. In my view, this is not my best writing even though the audience gives me a positive reaction. Although folks such as you leave wonderful and complimentary comments, I feel that this is not a writing piece, but a chronicle of interesting and dramatic events. My real writing occurs when I post one of my fiction pieces, or an essay, or write about some passion of mine. That's when I feel my writing takes off. I balance getting details correct with bare bones prose and minimal dialog with posts such as this one. In other posts, I try to write as eloquently as I am able, which often times, in my view, is not at all eloquent.
As far as folks not stopping for legal reasons, you're right on the money with that one. Thanks again JD. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Andrew, It's nice to see you back at my little blog again. Thanks for the kind comment about my story. Drop me an e-mail when you get a chance and tell me how you are making out in this great state. I saw your blog today, and yes, I did vote. Let me know how you are doing, and post some stories, man! -Mike.

Jack Payne said...

Aw, c'mon, Mike, anybody who can routinely perform heroics like this deserves recognition beyond, "my wife." Does she have a name? She should be so honored by mention of it.

Share.

1st Lady said...

Just last year in Heathrow airport myself and many others were running to catch flights, full sprint gate closing kind of running. A lady fell to the ground and everyone around her screeched to a halt, myself included. We all gathered around to help her up. Her husband ran back to her and we all started running again. People are different behind a wheel it seems but the mix of people that stopped for that lady last year gives me faith! Your wife sounds like a fabulous lady. Good for her in stepping up when so many others didn't.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Jack,
You are correct Sir. She does deserve recognition beyond "my wife." However, "my wife" didn't want her name on my blog. maybe one day I'll let it sneak out. Thanks for your kind words about her and thanks for reading. -Mike.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi 1st lady,
Your story about everyone's concern for the lady who fell in Heathrow Airport is indeed encouraging. In the first part of this story where my wife helped the choking baby, others did stop and came to help, but in the second part of the story, my wife was alone. I think many people do aid other motorists. When I was a New York City police officer, there weren't many instances I saw where someone was stranded and in need of emergency help and no one aided them. This, I feel was a rare occurence, and I am proud of her. Thanks for your kind words about my wife and thanks for reading. -Mike.

Fabulous Photo Gifts said...

WOw - what a story my friend.

Your Wife does indeed qualify for a medal!

Thank goodness for people like her in our world and to you to for your duty in making the streets a safer place for us all.

Great blog. I was worried (initially) about the length of your posts but it really works!

I myself sometimes have a hard time condensing down what I want to say.

Welcome to GSTF!

Jonathan (aka purple13)

P.S Just passed my 200th blog article.

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Jonathan (aka purple13),
I am so excited to have been made a Flower Smeller. The folks I gave the award to are also proud, new members of the GSTF community. I am happy you liked my story, and I have to admit that I too was daunted by the length of this post. I had to divide it into two parts, as you can see, and it was the only way to do it. Several moths ago, I wrote an account of my father's experiences in WWII and it was FOUR parts. Whew! Thanks for sticking with this one. I appreciate your comments, and I am happy to be a part of GSTF! -Mike