A sharp tug on my right arm pulled me back on to the sidewalk. A moment later a bus rolled up behind me to a sudden stop on the road where I was walking only a few seconds ago.
My mind was on other thoughts and getting to my next meeting. A group of teenagers gathered at a bus stop crowding the sidewalk from the buildings to the road. I was running late and without a thought I stepped out on to the road to get around them. A few steps on the road were followed by sharp tug on my arm by a young teenage boy. His split second reaction saved me. Had he not pulled me back into the crowd I may not be alive today.
We looked at each other and smiled uncomfortably. I said thanks and carried on. It was just one more incident in the rhythm of a city day.
This was in 2003, over twelve years ago. I often wonder who that teenager was. His reaction time was swift. If I could see him now and thank him again I would. I hope he has gone on to great things in his life.
I only write this as yesterday evening, walking through the streets of Paris I saw a man in his thirties step out into the road to get around a couple pushing a stroller. I hoped my facial expressions and arm waving would signal to him to jump back on the sidewalk. I was too far away for him to see or hear me. He didn’t notice or hear the motorcycle rapidly approaching right behind him. The pedestrian had stepped out directly into the path of the motorcycle. The motorcycle driver’s quick wit and sudden swerve spared the man’s life. The two exchanged looks of anger and shoulder shrugs as all French do to communicate “oh well, that’s life.” The evening went on for each of them.
It wasn’t his time to die and nor was it mine twelve years ago.
Watching this unfold startled me into thoughts of life and it’s inherent beauty and the genuine connections between all of us. I was brought back to that day I was pulled to safety… I was suddenly elated to be alive. I felt a huge overwhelming desire to love, show love, feel love. I was joyous and happy to be walking through the streets of Paris on my way to visit friends.
Thank you teenager back in Canada! May your life be great!