Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thank You

I want to tell my daughter's crossing guard thank you.  Since September, I've seen her twice a day, said hi, shared a smile, and watched her take her job seriously.  Then, a few weeks ago, school was out and I stood across the street from the school, watching my daughter waiting at the curb with some other kids.  Scout saw me and knew I was there and couldn't wait to cross and run over to me and tell me about her day like she always does.  But she stood there, waiting for the guard to tell them it was safe to cross the street.  All the cars were stopping, and she put her sign up and started across the street.  

The car in the first lane wasn't paying a bit of attention, and I watched as that car hit my daughter's crossing guard.  I watched her hit the hood and then fly off the car and land in the street.  It was the scariest thing I have ever seen.  I knew my daughter was still waiting at the curb, but my first impulse was to run home 3 houses away to get my phone to call 911.  Rob was there with Elles and I told him what just happened and we both flew out of the house back to the school.  The crossing guard was lying on the street and had a few people around her, tending her.  Scout was in the exact same place, crying.  I ran to her and scooped her up, horrified at what had just happened, what I had just watched, what my daughter had just watched a few feet from her.  A little later came the horror of what could have happened, how bad it could have been.  

Then came the police and the ambulance.  Then came the next horror to me- I realized that the crossing guard's own children go to the school and hang out at the same corner waiting for their mom to get off work.  That's when I noticed a little boy crying, trying with all his might to unlock his mom's phone so he can call his dad.  I went over to their car and tried to comfort him and help him.  Her other children were upset, but sitting in the car.  The little boy's sister took over trying to unlock the phone.  We ended up using my phone and at this point I didn't know the status of the crossing guard, or what to say to the dad.  I walked over there and the crossing guard was conscious and they told me that he had been called by the school office.  I told her I was with her kids.  I went back and told them that their mom was ok and that their daddy was coming and relieved that I didn't have to make that phone call.

Rob took Scout home.  I had to stay because I was a first hand witness and had to sign a statement, etc.  The dad didn't show up.  I started making inquiries and found out that there was a mix up and he really hadn't been called.  I chickened out again and had the lady that worked at the school office call him from my phone.  By that time the crossing guard was being loaded onto the ambulance.  The woman that hit her never got out of her car, never talked to anyone. 

Her family lived close and the dad happen to have the day off (he is a fireman), so he arrived quickly, but wasn't able to see his wife, the ambulance was already gone.  He was then able to comfort his kids, and I wrote down everything I remembered from the accident and sped home as fast as I could.  By that time, Scout was feeling much better, she and daddy had a good talk about what happened.  What ever he said to her was the right thing.  I spent the rest of the evening restless and recovering from various degrees of shock which ended with quite a headache.  Scout spent the evening bringing up feelings and thoughts about the accident which included bouts of anger towards the person that hit her.  I tried to tell her that she didn't do it on purpose but was in big trouble for doing that.  I walked Scout to school the next day and inquired in the office how the crossing guard was doing.  I was told she hadn't broken any bones, but had a lot of soft tissue damage and will be back to work in a few weeks (if her husband lets her).

I am so glad things turned out ok.  I am so relieved that it wasn't worse then it was.  I will forever play that scene in my mind, and never forget what that was like.  I've never seen a person get hit by a car before.   I've thought a lot about what happened and like Scout, I can sometimes feel anger towards the woman that hit her.  That crossing guard was doing everything right.  School had just gotten out.  There were kids everywhere.  The flashing school zone lights were flashing.  The cross walk is one of those big ones, with extra safety curbing, and green stripes.  There are reflector poles on either side.  The crossing guard had big, colored cones out in the middle of the street.  She had a orange vest on.  She had a huge stop sign in her hand.  I am angry that you can make such a grievous error such as not paying attention to all of that and hitting a crossing guard with my child (and several others) so close.  The fact that that can happen, I saw it happen, there are people out there that can cause that to happen, scares me so much. 

So I want to say again, thank you.  Even though I feel like we've gotten to know each other a bit this year by smiles and saying hi, I hadn't even learned your name.  But thank you for taking your job so seriously.  Thank you for keeping our children safe.  Thank you for following the rules and making sure those kids are safely still at the curb until you know for sure it is safe to cross.  Thank you for putting yourself on the line for our kids.  At Christmas, we gave you an inadequate gift card and some chocolates with a note that said, "thank you for keeping Scout safe".  Little did I know, just a couple weeks later, how much I would mean that.

Tell your son that I am sorry I was so shaky I had to ask him 3 times what his dad's number was.  The fact that he could tell me it correctly 3 times with all that was going on, and being so scared for his mom, is amazing to me.  What a kid.

Tell your husband I am sorry I hesitated in calling him the first time.  I was too afraid to call this complete stranger and tell him that his wife was just hit by a car and he better come down to the school to be with his kids.  I was scared I would say something stupid.  I was clear headed enough to know that in my state of shock, I might not make the best word choices, but I should have manned up and done it anyway.  I am the reason he didn't get to see his wife before you went to the hospital.

And finally, to the woman that hit her, I don't know quite what to say.  I know we all make mistakes, but I really hope that you and everyone else learned something that day.  According to some of the kids waiting to cross the street with my daughter, you had your phone in your hand.  We all get a little distracted from time to time, but we just can't let ourselves get so distracted we don't notice we are in an active school zone.  I don't know if you were dialing a number or texting, either way........ you are so, so, so lucky this didn't end up worse.  I don't think my daughter's small little body could have taken your car like the crossing guard's did.  But I just can't even think about that.  She is safe, and she is doing well and hardly brings up what she saw that day anymore.  But I don't think she will ever forget it.

1 comment:

megandjon said...

you always have the craziest stuff happening to you or near you! this made me cry! that poor woman, i'm glad she's ok. and poor scout. how traumatic. all i can say is: wow.


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