You can never know what will be a part of your morning routine.
At an intersection I see every morning I saw a traffic accident involving a roofing truck and a compact car. It was a classic fail to yield turning left and got t-boned sort of accident.
I was the first one at the accident scene and looked over the car to make sure there was no gas leak or fire and then I checked on the lady who was in the compact car that was REALLY smashed up. I found myself yelling "are you okay?" several times to what appeared to be a lifeless body. "Help is on the way!" I yelled. "I'm right here, everything will be okay." I didn't know if I believed it but I wanted to be comforting given that I didn't know what was going on.
It only took about 2 or 3 minutes before police and fire rescue showed up but just before I heard the first siren she opened her eyes. I felt such a relief and I talked to her more with a little more confidence.
An hour or so ago I got a nice email from her thanking me for staying there with her and being an official witness to the accident. I was stunned to hear from the police department that in this busy intersection I was the only one who stepped forward to say what they saw.
I don't want to be too cynical and say that nobody cared because it wasn't true. There were several calls to 911 that had help on the way quickly. I think in the age of cameras everywhere people naturally think that the facts about an incident like that will be discovered without a real person's testimony.
One thing I learned from this was that even though I was nothing but someone there to be supportive, the lady in the car said that it made a difference and she was very scared. Her husband learned of the accident from the car's communication system telling the monitoring company she had been in a collision. He was glad that someone was right there with her after the accident.
I guess aside from the 911 calls and cameras there is still a role for people. I wanted make sure she was okay and felt powerless to do anything but never counted on making a difference just by being there. I'm not a hero by a long shot and I'm not even pretending to be, but I'm glad I was there and that being there helped somehow.