Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Tyranny of Living Fast

Last Friday, at this crosswalk, a 13 year old boy with no cell phone or identification on him, attempted to cross the street in Paradise, California. The name of the street is Skyway and 40,000 people in the towns of Paradise, Magalia, Sterling City and Inskip are dependent upon this one route to go to, and from, the larger city of Chico. The boy entered the crosswalk; one car stopped. He continued walking when a late model Mercedes Benz, driven by an important man in the town of Paradise with an excellent job running the Water District, neglected to yield to the kid. The boy was hit by the Mercedes so violently that his shoes were thrown off of him.

The young man was knocked unconscious by the collision. He had multiple broken bones and also endured severe trauma to the head. Because the boy had no Identification on him, it took 30 hours to discover who the boy belonged to. The boy's father thought his child was spending the night at a friend's house. When it came time for the boy to come home the next day, the father was informed his son never made it to the friend's house. It is the mistake a trusting father would make of a good son. The father didn't pay attention to the news or social media over the thirty hours the boy was in the ICU alone, so he didn't know that social media, television stations, newspapers, radio and the police were frantically looking for the family of this poor child.

The boy died two days after the accident when  he was declared brain dead. He never regained consciousness. His organs were harvested and they will be used to save a few other lucky soul's lives. And so disaster for one child becomes opportunity for others.

As is so common these days, a make shift memorial/altar was set up at the scene of the accident. I stopped  and paid my respects. The cars flew by as I took photos--many vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour.

Nobody does 35 mph on this stretch. Given the four lane nature of the road and the lack of traffic lights, speeds of 50 to 60 miles per hour are common.

On a poster at the memorial, the boy's father wrote a very personal and heart breaking note:

To my son:

You were the best achievement in my life. You had become such a good young man. I was so proud of you. You were the biggest help and I could not have had a more open and honest and most of all, loving and charitable son. I was so proud of you when you took your lawn mowing earnings and donated them to charity. You always wanted to help anyone and everyone. You would have made a great man.

Love always and forever,


Such a waste.

It is impossible to read this loving note from the father and not be motivated by this wonderful kid to be a kinder, gentler, more charitable person.

As for the man who was driving the Mercedes? The important man from the Paradise Irrigation District who was in such a hurry? I'm told he is a decent man who will be haunted for the rest of his life by the Tyranny of Living Fast.

Slow Down.


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