Hard Lessons – will we ever learn?

June 18, 2020

Started like every other day under the Covid-19 lockdown. Wake-up, make coffee, power up the work computer and start working. Since all the gyms are closed, I’ve made it a habit of walking/running 8km at some point during the day.

This particular day, I left my house at 11:45am walking at a pace of about 10mins/km.

The intersection of Torbram Road and Country Side Drive is approximately 3km from my front door. I’ve passed this intersection 100s of times over the last 27 years, but today would be different!

At the intersection, while on the Phone with my mom, I turned East along Country Side Drive. Approximately 100 Metres East of the Intersection (even with noise cancelling AirPods in my ears), I heard and felt the crunching of melt and glass! I turned in time to see a slightly airborne white SUV hit a light standard with a sound that felt like the thundering of stampeding elephants.

The light standard snapped, crushing the White SUV. I yelled, “holy fuck! Mom I’ll call you back”.

I ran back towards the intersection as I surveyed the carnage! I ran past a frantic lady who stopped her car by the side of the road. She was yelling: “there’s a baby in the SUV”. Her voice still echos in my head.

Now, I’m standing in front of the burning sea blue G35, a couple of Good Samaritans are pulling the driver out of the burning vehicle. I stood immobilized, not capable of moving as the driver was whaling and grimacing in pain and agony. He was the lucky one, I know that now, but I knew it then too! This is why I couldn’t move!

I’m my years as a claims adjudicator early in my career, I was required to read police, hospital, doctors, workers, and employers accident reports to adjudicate claims.

As I continued to survey this catastrophic event my heart sank with every fibre of my being. My mind was processing the scene, my heart continued to sink as I knew that no one in the White SUV was going to survive.

Was it a premonition or just an educated assumption? I was still immobilized as I fumbled for my phone, “shit, not that phone, that’s my work phone” (a sign of the times). I found my phone and started recording the mayhem in front of me.

However, what I witnessed was not Mayhem!

I saw people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, colour and religions coming together to help the occupants in all four vehicles. They worked valiantly together erratically but calmly and gently pulling three infants out of the crushed white SUV to safety. They started CPR. Others found blankets and brought them to comfort the little victims.

Brady, the driver of he G35, continued yelling in pain!

Within minutes there was a regiment of police cars on the scene! Fire and ambulances soon followed, they all got into the fray! Police officers took over from the tired Good Samaritans and continued CPR on the girls, firefighters then stepped in to allow the officers to get control of the scene.

One gentleman upon seeing the ambulances raced towards them yelling: “Over here! Bring ventilators”

The first medical responders took over and continued trying to stabilize the young victims!

What I witnessed this day was that out of tragedy, the community showed up transcending all the social and political issues currently evident in the news.

I witnessed the best of humanity! kindness, empathy, sympathy, respect, caring, community!

One outcome of the Danforth tragedy was “Just Do Kindness”. In a world where you can be anything, be kind!

This coming together of the community should be a model for resolving all of our social and political issue!

Diversity is our strength, let’s leverage it!

On a personal note, to the Father and Husband that lost everything. I can’t possibly understand what you are going through this Father’s Day! However, know that I feel for you and your loss as does the community!

We are with you in solidarity. God Bless!

All, always Be Kind! Respect each other, and the laws where we live!

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