My name’s not Peter and I don’t have an Uncle Ben, but related or not, Ben’s final words resonated deeply with me on Monday. Ben’s admonishment, his declaration to nephew Peter Parker that, “With great strength comes great responsibility,” echoed through my head after the crisis was over but before my shaking stopped.
The unseasonably cool, Cary, North Carolina weather allowed for a pleasant, early evening al fresco dinner, my wife and I tucked well away from the bustle of Walnut Street as we enjoyed our tete a tete at a table for duex. Our peaceful reverie was shattered by the horrid screech of metal on metal followed by the squeal of tires as a car accelerated hard. I looked at my beloved, inhaled, expanded my cheeks with air, tilted my head to the side and exhaled slowly before declaring, “We are trained after all,” as I wiped my mouth, dropped my napkin on my plate and walked from our secluded spot toward the metal ripping on Walnut Street.
I passed other diners who sat passively, looks of concern on their faces. I came across a woman, phone to face, obviously engaged in a call to 911. I continued to the divided boulevard and saw two cars, their twisted countenance the obvious cause of the raucous screech I’d heard earlier. One car faced northward in the north bound lane while it’s companion in crumple faced southward; both drivers standing in the right hand lane, phones in hand, apparently uninjured as they spoke with one another and whomever they had chosen to call.
Surveying the scene I spoke to the woman who had just disconnected from her 911 call and asked, “No injuries, correct?”
The woman looked at me, looked at the street and replied, “Looks that way. Thank God.”
I nodded my thanks and retraced my steps, announcing to the massive passive sitting immobile in their dining seats what I had learned. “They’re okay. No injuries,” I said calmly as I continued back to my table. My calm was completely feigned. My lip quivered, my throat constricted with held back emotions. Willing to help as I could, I was delighted to not have to call on my training in CPR, first aid and life saving.
We all have the power to make a difference. If you don’t have first aid training get it. People’s lives are at stake and with training you have the power to transforms a tragedy into a story of survival.