Galen lives in a student housing village, and on Friday I dropped him off on my way home. Two little girls ran out in front of us, one crossing the street to get a ball.
Galen muttered something about where the girls' worthless parents were -- harsh, but he is young and doesn't yet know that being a parent is not as easy as it seems...
Two hours later Galen emailed with this: "yeah, so shitty night! Somebodies kid got hit by a car right by my trashcan. doesnt sound good."
It was the same place where the girl had crossed -- without looking -- to get the ball.
When I worked at the hospital in Utah, I worked with a young couple whose sweet little toddler had wandered away from them in a store. As they frantically searched for her, she had toddled through the store, went by the cash registers, out the front doors, through the parking lot, and into a busy street where some poor person driving home from work could not avoid hitting her.
Many people saw that small girl -- and nobody stopped her -- and she died from her injuries. Her anguished father wondered why nobody had been his hero and stopped his child -- he needed a hero and nobody had stepped up.
And now I wonder if I missed a chance to be a hero -- if I had stopped and made the girls take me to their parents and told the parents that their children were in the street -- well, I do not even know if it was the same girl but maybe it was...
I know it is not my fault that a girl was hit and is now in critical condition in another state (she was flown to a pediatric hospital), but I am reminded of the importance of heroes -- those people who do something extraordinary because something just doesn't seem right.
I won't ever again see a child in the street without doing something. I have seen the face of a parent who needed a hero, and I have felt a parent's soul shattering grief -- I am sorry that it took a five-year-old being hit outside Galen's window to remind me that it really does take a village to keep our children safe.
Keep your eyes and heart open for your opportunity to be a hero.