I’m not proud of a lot of things, but this may be the thing I’m least proud of, or more accurately, most ashamed of. I try to be careful, and in this case I was the complete opposite: careless.
To set the stage, it was the Spring of 1992, my Junior year, about six months after getting my driver’s license. I was working at Heinen’s grocery store on a drizzly weekday evening. The store was closed, I’m guessing nine p.m., and everyone was filing out into the parking lot to their cars.
As we left I was mid-conversation with a co-worker. We stepped outside, and he stopped at the front door and waited for a ride to pick him up while I headed to the side of the building to my parents (at the time) van. I hopped in the van, backed out, and headed toward the front of the building.
The van rounded the corner to the left, passing the entrance where I had just exited. I spotted the co-worker I had been talking to and gave him a quick wave as I completed the turn. Unfortunately, when I waved I looked away for a second, and missed the customer who had just exited the store and was making her way to her vehicle in the front parking lot.
There was a split second as I turned my head back to the front of the van that I saw her just a few feet from the front bumper of the van. The split second passed, and in vivid, horrifying slow motion, the bumper, and then hood, hit the woman, causing her body to bend towards me, and then whip in the other direction, finally landing on the ground.
I jammed the break and immediately opened the door to get out, forgetting to shift into park. The van lunged forward, but I managed not to run over the woman. Again.
After properly securing the van, I darted to the woman who was sitting up, supporting herself on her hands. I profusely apologized, and within seconds turned into a blubbering mess of guilt and fear. A crowd quickly surrounded us as emergency vehicles were called, arriving within a few minutes.
By the time the police, ambulance and fire trucks arrived, I was such a mess the woman I hit was trying to calm me down. Soon after, my parents arrived, and for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life, I sat in the back of a police car while the woman and witnesses statements were taken.
After the accident, I thought I was going to be arrested, or maybe ticketed and grounded. Nothing. I mean, I didn’t drive and pretty much grounded myself, but the police took a look at the scene and assessed a few things. There was no stop sign at the corner. It was misty from the drizzle. It was dark. The parking lot was dimly lit. In the end, I wasn’t even cited.
Thanks to my Catholic upbringing, I still think about that incident and cringe with guilt. Luckily, the woman suffered only minor injuries, I can’t imagine what would have happened if she had been seriously hurt.Social tagging: 1992 > heinens > pontiac > trans sport > writing > ytrh