Saturday, July 25, 2015

Driving On By

It was just a little detail in a tragic little story, part of the great rush of information that flows past us on a daily basis.  It was easily lost, in the buzz and hum.  

Maybe you heard some of it, in passing.  

A young woman was flying with her grandparents in a small private aircraft, when something went very wrong.  The plane went down, crashing into a wooded hill in the middle of nowhere.

She managed to get free, but try as she might, she was unable to rescue her grandparents from the burning plane.  That left her alone and lost in the woods, banged up from the crash, her hands badly burned from her efforts.  

She held it together, remembering something she’d learned from a survival show she’d watched.  Follow the water.  Streams lead to rivers.  Rivers lead to bridges.  And bridges mean people.  So she did just that, bruised and burned and alone, for two days, until finally, wet and hungry and hurt and exhausted, she found a parking lot, where there was a car and no people, which brought her to a road.

Where she tried, soaked and hungry and worn out, to get passing motorists to stop and help her.  

And there, the detail that stuck in my mind.  

No-one would.  Not a soul stopped. For an hour, they just drove on by. She’d survived a plane crash, watched her grandparents burn to death, and stumbled hungry and thirsty through the woods for days. I don't doubt she looked rough.

But having found humanity, humanity didn't bother helping.

Just a wandering meth-addict, they might have thought. Some homeless hitch-hiking girl, out to maybe steal something. Somebody on the run.

Having tried and failed to get help, she wandered back to the parking lot and curled up in the cold, exhausted beyond caring. It was there that another car pulled into the lot, and folks got out, and she was rescued.

And I wonder, honestly, how many of us, sealed away in the comfort of our cars, would pull over.