Sunday after “church” Larry, Karla and I went to lunch in Owasso at Napoli’s Italian Restaurant. We had a great visit and a great meal. We then drove on to Tulsa to visit a friend who is in the hospital.
Later in the afternoon as we were coming back into our small rural town we witnessed what could have very easily been a “Last Chance”.
Traffic was moderate to heavy in a 25 mile speed zone. Three teens, I’m guessing 14-16 years old decided to cross the street, walking South. (They did not have the right of way) The East and West traffic each had green lights so everyone was in motion. We were three cars back from the crosswalk/intersection as they defiantly walked in front of traffic. I was driving in the right hand lane and as I observed them I immediately checked my rearview mirror. In the left lane, an SUV was approaching the intersection speeding at about 35-40 mph. The teens had not seen the SUV nor had the driver of the SUV seen the teens.
It was way too close for my comfort. I was gripping the steering wheel and holding my breath as he slammed on his brakes and the teens scattered, running across the street, looking back over their shoulders in disbelief. I can assure you everyone was shook up. As a witness to the near tragedy I know the teens and the driver were scared, yet after the initial shock their attitudes were just as defiant as before. The teens acted as though they had done nothing wrong and that the driver was a nut case and the driver behaved as though he had not been careless and continued to speed on; obviously upset that the teens “inconvenienced” him.
I must admit, I don’t get it! I don’t understand the carelessness of the teens or of the driver. Do people REALLY think they are invincible? Is there such an attitude of entitlement that common sense, caution and respect aren’t even in the arena anymore?
Ten seconds of bad attitudes all around could have changed many lives that afternoon. The teens likely would have suffered permanent injuries or died, leaving behind grieving families and friends. The driver may have died as well or been charged with involuntary manslaughter and spent years in prison. I would have to wonder about the “involuntary” part though, he was deliberately speeding. Other vehicles likely would have been involved as well and regardless of that, can you imagine the images we would have been left with to witness a tragedy of that magnitude?
Poor choices and poor attitudes could have all resulted in a last chance for those teens and the driver. It certainly was a reality check for me.
What would you change today if you knew it was your “Last Chance?”