Maybe going to vote on my lunch break wasn’t the best idea, I thought. It was the Presidential elections and I had been diverted and delayed at every turn it seemed at the polls. The small card I received in the mail directed me to the local civic center to cast my vote. Upon my arrival, the attendant there told me it was incorrect and I actually had to go about five miles down the road to the senior center. An hour and ten minutes later, my vote was cast and I was headed back to work. Never one to be late, I was running late because of all the red-tape I got caught up in at the polls.
As I rounded the bend on 9th Street, I heard the unforgettable sound of an auto accident. A mere second later, I saw it. There in front of me at the intersection, was a four door sedan and on its hood was the front end of an eighteen wheeler. The smoke from the wreckage was hovering all around and I was the first on the scene. Slamming on the brakes and pulling to the shoulder, I got out with my phone in hand and dialed 911.
“Ma’am, do you know how many people are in the car?” the 911 dispatcher asked.
“I’m not sure. I just arrived. I’ll go see.”
I peered in through the passenger’s door and inside was only the driver and I described to the dispatcher what I was seeing.
“There is one male, African American mid-thirties maybe. The front right tires of the truck are on his legs.” I tried to describe the horrific scene to the dispatcher without the man hearing me because I wasn’t sure if in his state of mind if even knew that his legs were gone.
The dispatcher instructed me to keep the man alert, “Do not let him pass out, help is on the way.”
I crawled inside the car and asked the man his name. He was screaming so loudly but managed to get out, “Darryl”.
“Darryl, my name is Jennifer and I’m going to pray for you, okay?”
He screamed as I prayed loudly to God. Soon I heard the sirens and held Darryl’s hands until they arrived. Moments later, paramedics were surrounding Darryl and me.
“Ma’am, you’ll need to get out of the way.”
Darryl clutched my hand tighter and the look in his eyes told me not to leave. I climbed over into the back seat still holding his hand in mine. The paramedics were packed into the front seat and put a jacket over Darryl’s head.
“Ma’am, you might want to get out.” The young paramedic directed me. I didn’t budge.
Soon, I realized what they were doing. From outside the rear driver’s side window, I saw the driver of the truck getting into the cab. He cranked the large truck up and put it in reverse. He was trying to back the truck off Darryl’s car. The first attempt was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until I felt the splash of Darryl’s warm blood on my face and arms that I knew the second attempt had worked. The truck was free but Darryl was had passed out from the shear shock of what had just occurred. His hand went limp in mine. The paramedics worked fast to get him out of the car and onto a stretcher. I sat in the back seat covered in this stranger’s blood until logic took over and I got out. A wrecker was clearing the road.
I called my boss and relayed the events and told him I was going home to clean up. It wasn’t long after that I stood in the shower letting the cool water rinse Darryl’s blood from every crevice. I tried to focus on scripture and Leviticus 17:11 came to mind, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood ... for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
I thanked God for delaying me at the polls because it could have been me that Darryl hit when he ran the red light. I also thanked Him for allowing me to be first on the scene to be there for Darryl and to pray for him. There could be worse things than being splashed with a stranger’s blood, like not being washed in the blood of Christ.
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