I was crossing a two lane, very busy road with a bunch of guys I knew.
We were walking into a bar, to celebrate our team winning the playoff game.
Our softball team played well – and we went to a local bar to have a few beers, and get some appetizers.
We were crossing the street. Cars were coming mostly from one direction.
4 or 5 of my teammates were crossing the street with me.
Out of nowhere a car does a UTURN on the busy street, and slams into a man who was riding his bicycle.
The biker went flying about 10 feet into the air.
It was like slow motion. The man was airborne – and he let out this helpless kind of a screetch.
The driver of the car barely stopped or even noticed that it had just hit a person.
I ran to help the man on the bike.
He was mangled around the bike, his legs twisted in different directions, and blood was everywhere. He was groaning in agony.
It was a surreal scene.
As I ran to help the man, I had a million thoughts going through my head – but, the first one was --- STOP THE BLEEDING.
So, I took off my shirt.
I helped him, and so did the many motorists in their cars, that stopped on the road, backing up traffic.
I noticed though, that my teammates who were crossing the street with me, were nowhere to be found.
As I sat with the biker --- I tried to calmed him down, and attempted to help him feel a bit better until the ambulance arrived.
I sat there on the ground, next to him (I was shirtless) it was then that I noticed that --- NO ONE FROM MY TEAM WAS NEXT TO ME, OR HELPING THIS INJURED BIKER.
Not one of the guys who saw the biker get hit, bothered to run over to the scene with me, and help out an innocent young man.
I was mad.
I was hurt.
I was angry.
I was disappointed.
They (my softball teammates) had all seen the accident, and chosen to walk away from it – and go get their beer instead of helping out, showing their concern, or basically doing anything.
My kids were visibly upset.
I was talking to the kids over dinner, and they told me a story of an IDF officer (Israel Defense Force) who spoke to their school at an assembly that day.
He spoke about the humanitarian side of the conflict in the Mid-East. He was talking to the kids about how Syrian Mothers are bringing their injured children to the fence with Israel. Syrian Mothers who live in a country that is in a state of war with Israel – and yet these women walk through minefields on the Syrian side -- they drag their children past all kinds of impediments, to place their hand on the border fence – and beg for medical help.
He explained how the IDF quietly, and with little fanfare – at great risk to themselves, crosses into hostile, enemy territory to bring the injured people into the State of Israel.
A moving story – coming from a young officer who has seen and experienced this first hand. From a news story on the subject:
Syria and Israel are formally at war, and the idea of Syrians being treated in an Israeli hospital once would have been unthinkable. But the brutality of the Syrian civil war has driven some 200 wounded Syrians in the past six months to seek help at the Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights, according to the Israeli army.
Soldiers take them to a field hospital for treatment and triage, with more serious cases sent to hospitals in northern Israel. About 100 have been treated at the Nahariya hospital, with more arriving as news of the Israeli medical aid spreads by word of mouth.
For the man in the bed, who declined to be named for fear of retribution against his family back home, treatment in Israel has been a profoundly transforming experience.
“I thank the Israeli army,” he said. “Two and a half years of revolution have changed my opinion of Israel. Look what Bashar Assad” – Syria’s president – “has done to his people. Everything he says is a lie. He spreads hatred of Israel, but Israel is a friend, not an enemy. The Israelis showed us their humanity.
The IDF officer spoke in front of many children that day. Sharing his experiences about stories like the above.
Few students paid attention to the young officer who was speaking to the class. Others were disrespectful, and poking fun at his foreign accent.
I listened over dinner to them tell me this story -- watching them explain how they felt, about how this young man was being treated at their school.
My daughters together went up to the man at the end of the IDF officers presentation, and apologized for their classmates behavior, and thanked him.
They thanked him for his dedication, his service – and his ability to share his stories --- and they told him how it made them feel. They shared with the young many how the talk that he just gave, made them honored and humbled to be in his presence.
As my daughters told me this – I was moved. I was proud. I was humbled by my very own children.
(At this point, more transpired – such as phone calls to the young officer, but that isn’t the point, nor is it pertinent to the story)
What is pertinent is that our children learn by the unspoken word – they learn by actions. Sometimes we talk too much.
My teammates left me that day to care for an injured biker on a busy street.
I am confident that I am raising children that would not do that.
In fact, I know it.