Early this morning at around 5 a.m. I went out for a walk around the neighborhood. And as a woman walking in the dark on a very quiet street I find a heightened need to be safe. I had my house keys in between my fingers and I had my cell phone in my other hand. I was very alert of my surroundings of any footsteps that were around me or cars passing by. In my hyper-alert state I made sure that the cars are passing by I kept driving once they passed me. I think these things have been ingrained in me ever since I was a girl.
As I was walking toward home I noticed a car that was stopped in the middle of the road. It was a big SUV with dark tinted windows it’s lights were on and it was stopped where another street connected to it making a T. The driver of the suv could have turned left onto a street or it could have gone straight but it did neither. It was stopped. My danger senses heightened because I didn’t want to be dragged into the car as I walked by. As I got closer, I made a note of the license plate and as I walked by the front of the car I looked in to see who was in there and I really couldn’t see much. So I kept walking and as I walked by the car a truck from the other street started driving down towards me so it’s lights were on the stopped car. At this point I was maybe 20 steps away. The truck turned right slowly and the driver must have looked into the window of the other car and I heard the male driver yell, Are you alright? And when there was no response he asked again, are you alright? And at this point I stopped because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. But I wanted to be available if someone needed to make an emergency phone call. And so he honked his horn and yelled are you alright?! And when there was still no response the man pulled his truck over, put on his hazard lights and got out of his car. At that point I felt like I needed to turn around and see if I could be of assistance.
The man was maybe in his mid-sixties used his cell phone as a flashlight and he was shining it in the car asking, Are you alright? I walked toward the front of the car on the driver side where this man was and as I approached I saw the driver was a woman who was maybe in her late thirties to early forties and she must have been sleeping because I think the light startled her; she was rubbing her eyes and she looked very disoriented. The man again asked, Are you alright? Her window was still rolled up, she shook her head and shook her hand and was clearly embarrassed but still disoriented and she started driving away. He said, “I thought she was dead.”
I looked at the man and I said it was very nice of you to stop and do all of that. He said I thought she was dead. I yelled at her, I honked my horn and she didn’t respond. I told him that I saw him do all of that. He just stood in disbelief shaking his head. We wished each other a good day and we both went along with our day.
As I walked away I thought about a male friend of mine who who recently broke up a fist fight between two men. He wrote about his experience and said at the end that he hoped that somebody would step in for him if he ever found himself in a similar situation. And I thought what would I do? What would I do as a woman? I find that I have certain physical limitations but that shouldn’t stop me from doing something that is within my ability.
I find myself struggling with guilt this morning; voices telling me that I didn’t do enough. I realized that I did what I could given the circumstances. My safety was important but I stepped up when I felt safe enough and was willing to do whatever was necessary to assist in this situation.
I think the lesson is to not let fear and apathy get in the way of being a good human being and do the right thing.