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A Near Tragedy on Sunday

Despite checking all directions and rear cameras and side mirrors, I nearly reversed over a child, backing out of my driveway, this morning. The young boy was scooting along so quickly on one of those mini scooters and being so small, I couldn’t see any sign of him until the rear of the car was at the footpath’s edge.

Luckily he had seen me a split second before I saw him and stopped. I saw the look on his face that was reflected in my own emotions – that of surprise, fear and disbelief and finally relief.

“The more choices we have,

the greater the need for focus.”

– Tom Butler-Bowdon,

Australian non-fiction author

After the initial shock of what might have been and what clearly WASN’T had settled – I began to think how lucky both the child and myself was to have avoided a sure tragedy.

How could I ever have forgiven myself if I was responsible for a child’s death, or injury, even if it was accidental? To say nothing of the grief for the parents and the loss of a potential life/ any injuries and trauma for the child.

Thus, this incident had me thinking about luck, or feeling lucky and how that can be a close cousin of gratitude.

We, in the first or second world are frequently told to be more grateful.

“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful,

but the gratefulness that makes us happy.”

– Albert Clarke

To be thankful that we are not struggling to take a breath of clean air, to find food or to live through each day confident of our safety. Many of us are, or act, so entitled, it is easy to forget how fortunate we are to have our basic needs cared for – so much so that we give them little thought.

I was lucky and felt ever so grateful to continue my Sunday car jaunts without further mishap and continued to ponder my good fortune for the chance to do so.

But there was more that came to mind:

I was thankful for the reminder to be grateful for the life I have, and to be aware of the world that surrounds us in this present moment.

Life can be fragile and tenuous, even when we consider it protected and death feels so far removed from our immediate thoughts.

Norway
Wildflowers

Thomas Jefferson also had some thoughts about luck and its connection with hard work:

“I find that the harder I work,

the more luck I seem to have.”

Has a near miss reminded you how precarious life is, and made you renew your relationship with gratitude?

107 thoughts on “A Near Tragedy on Sunday”

  1. Oh boy, I’m glad that you avoided this disaster. No matter the cause or fault, this would have been awful. I cannot recall any close misses like this happening to me, but I’ve had situations where I’ve avoided disasters just because of chance or change of plans. Like deciding to not visit Mumbai on my one and only trip to India … and therefore missing the bombing in the Taj hotel.

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      1. This is too close a call. The same spot and high tea. That memory will be forever linked with the tragedy and what could have been a devastating experience, even if one survives such things, the trauma lingers. I am glad it turned out.

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            1. Crowded and touristy wanting their share of history. Now when I think of it ..it was real close as I was back in Delhi on same day 24th. The attack happened 26th Nov

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    1. Anyone that has been in ‘cooee’, of a bomb would indeed feel fortunate to have missed any nasty consequences. It must have been quite a tense time during those years when the IRA was an unpredictable force and car bombs were the chosen weapon.

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  2. Oh no! I’m glad nothing bad happened. But I agree, moments like that make us reflect on the things in life, most especially the things we should be thankful for. Stay safe always! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Sherr! I totally agree with you about the world stopping by a second so we can reassess our own and other’s mortality. Covid I suppose has done that in various ways too, perhaps?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Reassess things. It surely is a pause that we can use pro-actively to do that. Our lives around the world had become so frenetically busy that there was never time for a pause. There are good things to the pandemic after all. What are the main things you are concentrating on? De-cluttering? Goals? Moving locations? Life’s priorities?

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  3. I think you should speak to the kid’s parents, Amanda: otherwise it’ll be someone else who has the grief. You can scarcely take all the blame, and the kid needs to be forcibly reminded to watch where he’s going.

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    1. On reflection this afternoon, I suspect it is a garden shrub that divides our house and the neighbours that stopped us from seeing each other until the last minute. The boy did the right thing and stopped, which is more than I can say for the other kids in the street. They scoot across laneways and intersections without a care. It is only a matter of time I think. The parents have reminded them, but either they don’t listen or don’t remember. …..

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    1. I guess when you look back on life, it does happen more than we think it does, Peggy. What might have been if ….. I think we have chatted about what ifs before, haven’t we? I imagine you had lots you could write about in your travels?

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    1. Yes, indeed. I did feel a wave of relief, Ang. What could have been was awful to think about. It would be a complete life-changer. There is so very much to be grateful for, even aside from this incident, if we think about it.

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    1. Reversing one’s cars down driveways seems to be the most dangerous time for children. I have heard of parents running over their own kids reversing their cars. Can you imagine the grief?

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    1. It was a perfect example of a scenario that probably happens all too often, Chris. So grateful it ended well. I think the boy will be more vigilant next time.

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    1. Scooters are lots of fun for kids and at least they are getting exercise and not stuck on screens, but I do take your point about kids being a nuisance on scooters, especially if they don’t take care with crossing paths, roads and driveways. The parents perhaps need to reinforce road rules again, but then some kids find learning such constraining rules difficult! And need to learn the hard way, hopefully not in injuring themselves.
      Anyway, crisis averted and my life can continue! Yay for that.

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      1. Well, kids on bikes mostly. A scary one is when I saw two kids on bikes and had a premonition and so I hit the breaks a second before, without looking, they did a sharp 90 degree turn right in front of my car. I cranked the wheel and missed by inches. They never looked. If I had not had the premonition, they would have been dead. I have no clue why I slammed on the breaks – they were on the sidewalk, not looking back, not giving any indication they weren’t going to continue going straight – but, without knowing why, I did. But I have had similar to yours – I don’t see anything, but as I start to back out, suddenly something arrives…

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        1. We need eyes in the back of our head and maybe the side of our head too, don’t we, Trent? Lucky you had the foresight to brake when passing those kids. It is important to listen to those intuitive feelings when they enter our minds. I listen to them now, as they are mostly correct. Glad that all ended well with your incidents.

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  4. Amanda, thank goodness the child was not struck. I think almost every driver has had close calls and it scares us. I am so glad for the child and you for the avoidance of a tragedy. Keith

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  5. Being a very religious person, I don’t believe in luck. But I do believe in guardian angels and seeing God’s hand in daily life.
    I’m so glad that no one was accidentally injured. I can only imagine how frightening that must’ve been!
    Our close call was surviving the 2018 Camp Fire. A few more minutes delay and things might’ve turned out very differently… I shudder to think.

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  6. That’s one of my huge fears as well. When I was at a beach, a woman backed over her own sister’s toddler who had gotten out of the house and sat down behind his visiting aunt’s car to play. He was killed and it was a huge tragedy, of course. In Mexico, people commonly walk behind cards as they are backing up and so I am paranoid and probably drive people crazy taking twice as long to back up as is necessary. Checking and checking.

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              1. Hardly ever hear anyone honking a car horn, although the guy two cars behind me did three times tonight..As though any of us could just ignore the flagman and drive on the opposite side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

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  7. So glad that tragedy was averted, both for you and the boy. Those scooters are dangerous – they can go so fast and it must be quite hard to stop quickly. This incident ended well – others won’t 😒

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    1. It was a sobering reminder to be hyper vigilant when reversing the car, Sarah. Especially in suburban streets. I have started reversing into the garage now, so that I can drive straight out in case another little guy scoots past.

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  8. Great to hear there wasn’t a tragedy!
    A workplace safety program that my husband still follows today if possible – back into a parking spot (which he has already just seen with a front view). When he leaves, he does not have to reverse into moving pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

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    1. That is just what I have taken to doing. It is very easy to drive straight in and reverse out, but for the sake of an extra minute reversing in, you have the peace of mind driving straight out.

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  9. That was a close call- luckily crisis averted on both counts. I always feel like I’m chasing the tail end of luck on my travels. I was about to transit through Santiago when the protests and curfews started in 2019 and was at a Christmas market but not the one in the Berlin market attack.

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    1. Close enough calls, Sophie! Or to be sure, perhaps I should address you as Sophie-Carol! Only kidding.
      Civil unrest away from home, and even in one’s home territory, is terribly scary. One never knows what could happen. It gives us a reminder of our own mortality.

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  10. So relieved for you. There was a time when we could find out where the kids live & have a yarn with the parents & the parents were grateful but it’s a bit trickier these days. I truly feel for you
    the shock of a near incident like that only reassures you that your heart is pumping & adrenalin is doing its thing. I had a child nearly drown in my dam many years ago, the child had lied & told me they could swim thankfully I was not that gullible. After a quick rescue, I followed the crying child home & went off my nut not blaming the parents but making flamin sure they were aware at how close a call it was & the situation could have been tragic.
    I hope your week ahead is relaxing & joyous.

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    1. Times are different, Linda. I don’t even know where the child lives but suspect it is further down our street.
      As for the near miss in your dam, I could imagine that happening more often than you think. Especially in country areas where dams are not fenced. There was a small child a year or so ago that died just that way, and when blame shifted onto the parents, they stated that it takes a village to raise a child. Hmm. I guess swimming lessons are vital in our country with water and pools dotting the countryside. We had a backyard swimming pool at our former location and I was the pool nazi when the kids and visiting children swam. Even so, there was one time I watched as a three year old grabbed a plastic chair dragged it over to the childproof pool gate and open it and go inside. I ran and grabbed her before she got any further towards the edge. It can happen so quickly. You need eyes in the back of your head where kids are concerned.

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    1. I think gratitude can turn around a bad day into a more appreciative one. When we practise gratitude, we are building different neural networks to when we think negatively. Thus we can assist in helping our minds feel happier – this quote shows that our focus may help some folks to feel a bit happier by focusing on the better things in life. It won’t work for everyone, but it is worth a go!

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      1. That’s so true! Whenever I’m feeling down because I didn’t get something I wanted or didn’t get the chance to do something, I always try to think about the things I already have or the things I already did

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  11. Several years ago, before most cars had back up cameras, I was backing out of a parking space at work. Out of nowhere a man ran out of one of our gift shops and grabbed a toddler who had been standing behind my car. The man saw him from inside the shop. I didn’t even know the child was behind me. I will never forget it. I don’t know how I would have lived with the tragedy that could have happened. He had toddled out and gotten behind my car after I got in. His parents were still in the shop. They didn’t even know what had happened. I feel that angels were watching over all of us in that instant.

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    1. That toddler was lucky indeed! Thank goodness the man had the presence of mind to grab him. I feel also the horror of what might have been in that moment. As the days pass, the strength of that kind of thought diminishes but it is never erased completely. I suppose that you triple checked for toddlers when reversing for some time afterwards, Southern Patches?

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  12. Hi,

    Thanks for posting this. Our lives can change in an instant, that’s for sure. I love how you suggest being grateful for things. I have found that makes a big difference in my mood and more importantly, how I treat other people.

    Nancy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe that there are various research projects on just this topic, Nancy. Neuroplasticity is a buzz word at the moment and practising gratitude does tend to make a difference in shifting the focus. If we can build and reinforce those neural networks, they will get faster and stronger! We can only benefit from that, I think.

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  13. Glad no harm came to anyone.
    When I’m driving along and another driver goes by me at an excessive speed, I have to wonder…will that driver be 10 seconds closer to their demise.

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    1. When a car whizzes past me over the speed limit, and the traffic light ahead turns red, I have been known to give the car a nod or a cursory wave when I pull up alongside of them, Kevin. But then I reason that I don’t know why they are speeding. Are they rushing to hospital, or a job interview, or a desperate relative? Or unaware? Your comment highlights that 10 seconds can make a huge difference when it come to vehicles and accidents. And it often does. That is the real tragedy isn’t it?

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    1. Indeed! I thoroughly agree! It does make me extra cautious now. Which is a good thing considering the makeup of my street and the unpredictability of children.

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