Thanks for Hitting Me

Some of what is in the video is written below; (for those who prefer reading!) :)



I read an article about this man Duane Innes who was driving along highway 167 and he saw a pick-up truck drifting across lanes of traffic, sideswiping a concrete barrier and continuing forward at about 40 mph.

Duane who is a manager of Boeing’s F22 fighter-jet program dodged the truck, looked back and saw the driver slumped over his wheel. The article said ‘without consulting passengers in his minivan’ as he said there was “no time to take a vote” he kicked into engineer mode.

"Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together," Innes explained.

"We realized he wasn't slowing down, and if he hit someone at full speed, it would've been a very bad scene," Innes said. The intersection with Southwest Grady Way was a few hundred yards away. "He could've very easily unknowingly taken out a whole row of traffic."

So he pulled in front of the pickup, allowed it to rear-end his minivan and brought both vehicles safely to a stop in the pull-off lane.

It turned out the driver was an 80 year old man named Bill who didn’t know he had a minor heart attack two days before passed out on his wheel from poor circulation. His foot was resting on the accelerator.

The cool part was how Duane viewed it. He felt like this man was deserving of a few extra lives seeing as he spends his life doing volunteer work for the Special Olympics and Food Drives. It was pretty cool that the insurance company sent a nice letter to Duane commending him and they covered the costs.

So of course, it’s a great story but I loved that the two men and their wives went out for dinner after. Duane is 48, Bill is 80. Their wives are probably close to the same age.
I can imagine the stories they must have shared outside of the event as they got to know one another.

Now, I have been out to dinner with grandparents. Many of you take your parents out to dinner. But when in life do you get a chance to get to know the unlikely, potential friends out there?

Of course we like to meet up with people who are like us, people our age or from our town. I have learned that most of my tolerance comes from hanging around people who are actually nothing like me. Growing up, I felt uncomfortable around people who didn’t speak English. I have never been racist, but I simply didn’t know what to say, do or how to act around them. It was foreign territory. If I saw a homeless person, I would look the other way not out of lack of compassion but because I didn’t know what to do with the information. Elderly people at church freaked me out, heck Santa Claus freaked me out.

The problem was I lived on a 33 acre farm in a rural area. My school was up the road, my church was half a mile past that, I hung out with the girl behind our property. The few moves I did make across Southern Ontario were still small town with populations under 10,000. It wasn’t until I started acting and had to go into Toronto all the time that I learned to integrate with people who were not like me. A person’s color never freaked me out. I was more uncomfortable around a 45 year old couple sitting on stools. I never had to deal with that. My world was my family, my friends, my teachers. The people in my church who were in their 40s and 50s were the stern ones who disciplined kids and gave you dirty looks if you didn’t behave. The Elderly people would at least give candy but they still unnerved me.

I was at some little restaurant on Queen Street in Toronto and I was waiting for an audition. There were no seats and this couple in their 40s gave me one of the chairs from their table. At the same time, some creepy guy tried to give me a bar stool beside him. I looked desperately at the couple and the woman said, “she’s sitting with us, thanks for offering”. Well, it was awkward, but I was forced to sit with them as it was the better choice. She seemed very concerned I was walking around Toronto alone and the two of them asked some none-personal questions, just being friendly.

We ended up having such a great time that I nearly missed my audition. It was a game-changing moment for me having food and drinks with complete strangers.
After taking the Greyhound bus into Toronto a few times a week, I went from reading books to chatting with people beside me. I now have no problem talking to people at airports, airplanes or subways. An airplane ride usually forces you to get to know someone you normally wouldn’t choose to have in your life.

I see people do this online. They will reach out to people who are like them all the time. If you are looking to date or for a partner, it makes sense you would do that. If you are looking for a friend, you tend to find the same sex, same age group. We hang out with musicians who like our type of music and I talk a lot about like-minded spirits coming together in a community.

But what if we made it a goal to get to know someone who is nothing like us? What if we set out to have a conversation with a stranger who has nothing in common? How would you interact? For me, I tend to do is listen more than talk. You just never know who you will meet and what you will find out. I also think it makes us more tolerant and certainly travel will do that too. Many of us stay in our small towns thinking the whole world is supposed to be like that because it’s what we live.

It shouldn’t take a car crash or a disaster to open up our dining experience. I guess it all depends on our own agenda.

Staying off the 101 at rush hour anyways,

Karen :)

“The time is always right to do what is right.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

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