When we still lived in Fortaleza, I did my best to avoid driving in rush hour traffic and especially tried to not go into the downtown area. Fortaleza is a large city of close to two million people. If I was going to go shopping by myself downtown or to the doctor, it was better to just go by bus. I would often take all three of the boys from our house to the MK school by bus. We would take one bus out of our neighborhood to a big terminal and then catch a bus to another big terminal. From there we would have to catch one more neighborhood bus to get to the school. Usually the boys were very good and even enjoyed the rides.
When William was about 5 and Dalton was around 3 and Greyson was just a wee little thing, one of the little boys at our church got very sick. Almost from one day to the next, his legs went wobbly and he couldn't stand up. His name was David and he was around 6 years old. I went with his mother to see a doctor about his legs one day, and we ended up going all over town on many days to see many doctors as the boy got worse and worse. On one of these trips, we ended up out close to lunch time and we were all getting very hungry, but worse than our hunger was the fact that the traffic during lunch hours downtown was heavy.
As we were coming back from downtown towards our own neighborhood, I decided to take a side street hoping we could go a little faster with fewer stoplights than the main drag coming out of downtown. It was much quicker and we were moving along nicely. It was a more narrow street but had two-way traffic, cars going in both directions. There were also cars parked on both sides of the street. I could see ahead of us was a big delivery truck double parked in front of a store. It was a truck like the one below. The roll-up doors were open and I could see men moving on both sides of the truck with hand-trucks and tall stacks of crates of beer.
|Just like the street and truck were I was that day|
Now, remember I was in Uncle Byron's old red truck. It looked a lot like this one but older...
It was big and wide. Uncle Byron always said that he liked it that way because people respected it and got out of the road when they saw it coming, or something to that effect. The space I had to get through was sort of small so I hung close to the side of the beer truck as I went by. All of a sudden from nowhere out popped a man backing into the street with a stack of beer bottle crates on a dolly right into my path. I swerved a little to miss him but had nowhere really to go. The side mirror on the right hand of the car whacked Mr. Beer Truck in the back. I moved out of the narrow spot and stopped on the other side in front of the beer truck in an open space on the side of the road. Mr. Beer Delivery Man promptly fell in the middle of the street after we had passed by and stopped and rolled all over the ground moaning loudly.
David's mother looked pale as a ghost. It was the mirror on her side of the car that had got the man. Baby Greyson and little David were in the back seat. Greyson was in a car seat and I think David was in one of the bigger boys' booster seats but I'm not sure. She quietly said, What do we do now? I said, Well, if I get out of the car the man will think he can take us for lots of money since I'm an American. You get out and go see if he's dying or whatever. She started crying and boo-hooing. Is he dead? Ohhhh! I said, No, he's not dead. Look he's rolling all over the place. Finally she got out and went back to see. I stayed in the car with the boys. Then she came back and said he was okay but his back was hurt. Ah, and she said the mirror was laying in the road. Well, I jumped out of the car, because I couldn't leave the mirror. Byron would have a fit. So I went ahead and got out and picked up the side view mirror. The glass was broken but the rest was intact. We didn't have cell phones back then so we couldn't call anyone. I asked a person with a small business on the other side of the road to call and report an accident and ask for an ambulance.
Someone helped the man off the street and I spoke to the head man of the beer truck. He said that the hit man had not been looking when he stepped out in front of me but that it was my responsibility to "rescue" him according to the laws and to take him to the nearest hospital. We debated this for a bit and it seemed the best thing to do as it had been an hour already waited for police or someone to show up. We informed the person with the business of what was going on in case someone from the police showed up and off we went with a groaning beer truck man in the back seat with the kids to the hospital. Oh, and David's mother was still crying.
When we got to the hospital, guess who was there? The police! As the man got signed into the hospital, the police took my statement and said I would have to wait until the man was seen before I would be allowed to leave...
Come back next week for the rest of the story! Let me just say, I didn't have to go to jail.