This diary is sort of like tossing a bottle in the ocean with a message. I just want to take the time to thank the man who chose to help Dad all those years ago rather than shoot and kill him.
It was a New Years Eve many years ago in the mountains of North Carolina. It was cold out, about 20 degrees and we had an ice storm earlier in the day. I was just a kid at the time, probably about 10 years old. My parents had a New Years Eve Party at our home with several of their friends. The party was winding down about 1 AM and everyone was headed home. One of my parents' friends was a bit too drunk to drive and my Dad offered to give him a ride home. My brother and I volunteered to go along for the ride and keep my Dad company and we went. We were wearing pajamas and winter coats. No need to get all dressed up just to drive someone home.
The friend made it home safe and we started the trek back to our home. About 3 miles from home, my Dad went around a curve, hit a big patch of ice and the car careened off the road down a 15 foot embankment; sort of like a small cliff. When the car hit the bottom, both my brother and I got slammed. I hit my head on the dome light in the car and split my head open. My brother broke his leg. My Dad's face hit the steering wheel and he broke his teeth, and his mouth was bloodied. Despite that, he moved into action right away. Mind you, this was all pre- cell phones. Nobody to call. We had to get help quickly.
My Dad decided to leave my brother in the car with a blanket wrapped around him that he found in the trunk. He had a handkerchief and used it to compress the laceration on my head. He told us to stay in the car while he went off to get help. As little kids, we were freaked out and begged him not to leave us. He reassured us that he would go to a house down the road about 100 yards and ask for help and would be right back. It was late, but we could see lights on in the house.
Off he went. I watched as his shadow disappeared in the darkness. Eventually, I could see that he had made it to the front porch of that house. I'm not sure what he did, ring the doorbell? knock on the door? But, I remember hoping really hard that someone was home and would open the door. It was a long 30 seconds and eventually I saw the door open and my Dad talking to a man. The man let my Dad into the house and after a few minutes, they were back on the porch. Apparently, the man had called for an ambulance and they were now both running towards us. The man was older than my Dad but he seemed so kind and nice. He had more blankets and wrapped me and my brother until the ambulance came. Within about 15 minutes, the ambulance was there and took all three of us to the hospital. We eventually made it home by about 10 AM that morning. Our whole family was shaken by the incident but we all recovered fine.
After the incidences of the past week, it made me think back on that night. I want to thank that older man who opened the door for my father and chose to help him rather than shoot and kill him even though he probably could because in that part of the country, almost everybody owns guns. Maybe my Dad said the right things at that door to make that man comfortable that he wasn't in danger. Or, maybe it was just a different time when we didn't know what Stand Your Ground meant and we didn't think twice about opening our door to help someone in distress.
Prayers for Renisha McBride's family. I hope they find some peace and solace in this needless tragedy.