A witness at the scene


March 16, 2016

Martha Germann
Author of Thriving beyond Survival: How to Know What You Really Want and to Have Fun Getting It


The CRUNCH woke me up.

“What was that?”

The clock said 4:50 AM.

As I remembered the sound, I became more convinced it was a car crashing into something. I heard no other sounds.

Was everyone okay? I looked out my window and sure enough there was a car that had run in to the pick-up truck parked across the street. The front of the car was badly damaged, there was glass and plastic on the street, but I couldn’t see any movement.

I went out the front door. 

I tried to see if there was someone unconscious in the car or standing in the street. I couldn’t see anyone and it was still quiet. The street was wet and I was barefoot, so I decided to get some shoes on and get a closer look.

When I went back out I saw a man standing and looking at the wreck with a curious expression.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah” he said.

“Is that your car?” I inquired.

“No, that’s my truck”

I could see the dome light on in the car and the driver’s door was open but there was no one else around.

“Where is the driver?” I asked.

The man shrugged, looked over his shoulder and pointed down the street. “Maybe that’s them.” He said.

Trotting down the road were two women, one older and obviously in pajamas with a thrown on pair of shoes. The other was a young woman in what looked like a uniform holding a long key chain that swayed with each step she took.

It was still quiet.

I saw the older lady take a look at the front end of the car and the deployed air bag.

“Oh Denise,” she said with emotion. Then she turned to the younger women looked at her for a moment and wrapped her into a huge hug.

In that moment I realized I was watching a dramatic situation without the drama.

There were no raised voices. The owner of the truck didn’t look angry or upset rather more curious about what had happened than anything. The mother didn’t berate her child on being reckless but instead showed more appreciation for the lack of damage to her daughter than what had happened to the car.

This is everyday people in the real world quietly showing kindness and compassion in destructive circumstances.

I believe there is more of this quietly going on in our neighborhoods and communities than what we see or is reported in the media.

We help it spread when we acknowledge and appreciate these types of events, whether we are a participant or a witness.