I Almost Killed a Child Today...

Common Street Sign in Quebec

'Careful of our children...this one may be yours...'  Even this graphic sign doesn't seem to slow them down!
'Careful of our children...this one may be yours...' Even this graphic sign doesn't seem to slow them down!

I guess it’s just in my nature. I can’t help it, I was raised a certain way, and I think everyone knows how hard it is to change an indoctrinated mind.

Every time I see a beautiful, smiling, child-like face…I just can’t help it. I make eye contact, and smile encouragingly. Usually, the child smiles back and I can see the trust in their eyes. They put their faith in me. And being an adult behind the wheel of a nice car, it’s only natural that they would.

In this particular moment I am stopped at a 4 way intersection. I notice a little girl on her bike waiting to make the crossing. She is hesitant to go, worried about the traffic. I wave her on, smiling, showing her that I will wait for her while she crosses. She smiles at me thankfully and, wobbly with her 9 year old legs, starts to ride ahead. I am watching her closely, pondering the days when my daughters will be old enough to ride their bikes alone.

But my pondering is interrupted by the screeching of tires and the sounds of honking horns and of the cries of a terrified little girl as she peddles as fast as her knobby knees can go.

I am frozen in fear and my heart is in my throat.

I watch in terrified silence as I see the little girl barely miss being hit by an impatient driver. Her face is a mask of fear as she furiously pumps the pedals of her little bike to get out of harms way. I am incredulous and instantly guilty at my most honest mistake:

The mistake of being a considerate driver in an inconsiderate environment. A mistake that almost killed a little girl today.

Courtesy Can Kill

 

Earlier, I was talking about my indoctrination. I was raised in a town where courtesy was a given. And by that, I mean to say that courtesy was always given to those who chose to go on foot. Or to those who chose to pedal. But above all, courtesy and care was always especially prevalent when it came to our children.

Drivers would stop half a kilometer away to let a child, or anyone for that matter, cross a pedestrian walkway. Even if people were jay-walking the street, it didn’t matter! People walking came first and they were respected for their choice and treated accordingly.

And that indoctrination was and is my biggest mistake in this little town in the Province of Quebec.

Don’t get me wrong, the people here in Quebec are lovely. Kind and fun and exciting and vibrant. It is a beautiful place and wonderful to live here. But there is something strange and terrible that happens to a good number of Quebeckers when they get behind the wheel of their cars.

In a Hurry? Remember This...

 

The previously sweet and docile Madame Morasse, for example, becomes a speed demon who just sprouted horns and is in such a big hurry that she can’t wait for the mother with 3 kids standing in the pouring rain to cross the street in front of her and impatiently plows ahead leaving the cold and shivering family in her wake of dirty spray.

And the usually funny and witty Monsieur Leclerc has suddenly decided that no one is busier than he is when he is behind the wheel of his truck, and a child waiting to cross an intersection on her bike has all the time in the world, so no matter what, he is going, even if another driver has encouraged the child to cross; hence, the little girl that I almost killed today.

It is a mystery to me how such a friendly and loving people can turn into such impatient, cranky boors when they are seated in their automobiles. It seems they cannot see past the clock on their dash, ticking away the minutes as if it is their last on earth.

But I would like to take this time, a time that scared me so horribly, to point out something that maybe you drivers aren’t really seeing.

IF you kill a child… IF, in your hurry and impatience, you injure a child or God forbid, kill a child…those minutes that were ticking away on your dashboard WILL be your last on earth. Because believe me, you will not be able to live with yourself knowing that you killed a child simply to get to work in time.

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Comments 13 comments

mom/dad 7 years ago

hi megs: that was a good word for all of us. thanks a lot. we all need to be extra careful behind the wheel of a car. a guy just got picked up -52 years old- in Thunderbay for driving his electric bicycle while under the influence and caused an accident. when they ran his name, found he'd been prohibited to drive a vehicle in canada ever. go figure. even on a bike he's a menace. just a little ad-in. love mom.


allyson 7 years ago

good article!


megs78 profile image

megs78 7 years ago from quebec Author

Thanks ally and mom! :)


Ms Chievous profile image

Ms Chievous 7 years ago from Wv

This is a great hub to read especially at the begining of the school year!


DoodleLyn profile image

DoodleLyn 7 years ago from Upstate New York, USA

Wow,megs, Very powerful and well written hub. I, too, seem to be a magnet for kids. I will definitely keep this in mind next time I wave ANYBODY on when I'm driving.


hinckles koma profile image

hinckles koma 7 years ago from nyc

Ohh my god i would faint, i don't have the stomach even to see or hear this. good point, good article. 3-4mo ago we saw a motorcycle accident and i was unconscious in the car my 2 kids were looking at me when i opened my eyes. Thank god i wasn't driving. thank god! Its important to try to live in a good neighborhood with kids at least that, so everybody follows the rules and drive slow.


R P Chapman profile image

R P Chapman 6 years ago from England

That was a poignant story, made me reflect on the good fortune we have had to make it this far. Life is a fragile thing and remembering that puts our worries in context. On topic, it also makes us drive less foolishly too. You could have saved a life with this. Makes my business hubs seem pale and lifeless by comparison.


megs78 profile image

megs78 6 years ago from quebec Author

Thanks for your comment RP. This hub was written as a plea to drivers and I hope it does save a life in the future. Because I have small children, this is all that much closer to my heart and angers me all the more when I see such dangerous behaviour.


Misha profile image

Misha 6 years ago from DC Area

It's not really a question of courtesy Meg, it's a question of a size of the city. As easy as that. New-York, Moscow, Cairo - all different, but all don't respect pedestrians. They can't. If they try, city stops. :)


megs78 profile image

megs78 6 years ago from quebec Author

Misha, I don't live in a city. I live in a town of 10 000 people. We have stop signs, not lights. There is no excuse, not one, for driving the way the people do in this town. I guess you have never been to Quebec huh? New York has better manners than the town that I live in. I am not kidding you. Quebeckers have a thing about driving. When they drive, they are the only people that matter. Ask around, you'll hear the same story everywhere.


Misha profile image

Misha 6 years ago from DC Area

Well, for some reason I thought this happened in a bigger city. Be careful next time then, use you mirror :)


ledefensetech profile image

ledefensetech 6 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

Megs the fault wasn't yours but that moron that almost hit that little girl. You're just doing what any basically good person does, show some civility and do a good deed. The other driver was at fault and if he'd have hit the girl, the consequences would have been his as well.

I used to tell the kids I used to work with that you can make whatever choice you want, you cannot choose the outcome. So your choices had better be good ones. Some listened to that advice, others did not.


fionacassim profile image

fionacassim 6 years ago from Ireland

Oh my God, megs....thats terrifying...I don't know what I would do...I shudder even to think of it..great hub for the info and just general "stop and think everyone"... x

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