September 24, 2021 Rescue on the highway
Debbie stood at the edge of the road. Cars raced by as she teetered on the edge of reality. She knew she needed to cross the road to get home. But the cars were so fast…
Debbie had only recently celebrated her seventieth birthday. Celebrate would be a bit of a stretch. She had no one to celebrate with. Her daughter was in Calgary and they’d only seen each other once in the last year. Her son had left for the east coast and was in the Atlantic bubble so there was no seeing him… stupid covid.
As she stood on the edge of the highway her mind was a jumble, her body was shaking with fear and emotion. It was also shaking with the last couple glasses of wine she’d had. She understood why the staff at the restaurant took her car keys away. She wasn’t much more than five feet tall and a hundred pounds soaking wet. The alcohol coursed through her veins and muddled her brain. All she knew is she wanted to get home.
There it was, her chance to cross. She held her phone in one hand and her purse in the other.
Time to go.
Her shaking legs carried her forward and she stumbled for the middle of the road. Her path was clear. The small median was in front of her, she lifted her feet. Her brain and her feet struggled to connect. Why didn’t her legs work?
The ground disappeared as she missed her step.
The next thing Debbie knew she was kneeling on the asphalt. Pain, confusion, and fear battled for control of her.
Debbie couldn’t understand why the man in the van was yelling at her. She wanted to get up and move. She couldn’t, her legs didn’t work.
‘SCREECH!” The sound of the tires skidding on pavement surged through her weakened body. Was this how she would go, on her knees in the middle of the highway? Confused she tried again to get up. The man from the van was yelling at her to move. Didn’t he realize she was trying? The van guy turned and started waving at the cars getting them to stop.
Then came a pair of gentle arms around her. Some strange man picked her up off the pavement. This wasn’t the guy yelling and waving down the cars, it was someone else.
“Are you ok? Come on mam, let’s get you off the road.” The stranger’s voice pierced her muddled mind. He held her and guided her toward the side of the road.
“Thank you, I um… I think I had a bit too much to drink…” Debbie stuttered out her words and tried to look through the alcoholic fog she was in.
“Don’t worry miss it could happen to any of us. Let’s just get you over to the side of the road and see how injured you are.” The man smiled at her and a sense of relief washed over her. Through the fog she let him guide her to the side of his truck. “Here can you get into the truck and sit down.” He grabbed her around the waist and helped her into the passenger seat.
The truck was so high, she almost felt like falling back out of it. Debbie was having trouble focusing and understanding what had just happened.
“Hey lady you know you just about got yourself killed out there!” A voice shook her to the core. Was it that same voice from earlier? The van guy? He sounded mad.
Meekly she looked up toward the window on the driver’s side of the truck. “I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for all this fuss… I am so embarrassed.” Debbie wanted to crawl under the seat and disappear.
The other guy’s voice reached her ears, “It’s ok man, I got this, thanks so much for your help and for stopping. I’m going to take her over to the walk-in clinic and get her checked out. She isn’t dead and there was no crash thank god and thanks to you.” With that, her rescuer jumped into the driver’s seat.
Debbie tried to focus on what the man was saying. “… do you live? Do you have anyone you can call? How did you end up in the middle of Highway 97? That guy was right you could have been killed.”
She shook her head to try to focus and answer this man’s questions. “I just live over there off Louie Drive. No one… I have no one to call.”
“Nobody? Hmm, sorry to hear that… How and what were you doing on the road? Can you tell me your name? Your address. Should we go to the hospital?”
All the questions were making her dizzy. “No hospital, I was at the restaurant across the highway, and I thought I could make it across the road… I’m so sorry, thank you for helping me.” The weakened old lady sobbed,” My name is Debbie, can you please take me home? I just had a few too many drinks, I’ll be ok.”
“Ok Debbie, I’ll take you home. Although I think a doctor would be a good idea. You have a bruise on your forehead and that knee looks like you skinned it pretty bad.”
Debbie wanted to crawl inside and hide. The reality of what had just happened was fighting to get through to her. Who was this nice man that stopped to help? She couldn’t believe her luck. Maybe it was time to quit drinking… maybe?
“Ok, Debbie here we are. Are you sure you’re going to be ok alone?” The nice man stopped the big truck and jumped out his door.
“It’s ok I have my dogs. They’ll take care of me.” The grey-haired lady who looked like she could be someone’s favourite aunt leaned over and grabbed the door handle. Debbie tried to open her door and climb out. Thankfully the man was there just in time to catch her as the door swung open. She was having trouble with balance and focus. He grabbed her around the waist again and the two of them staggered to the door of her little townhome condo.
Which key was it again? Fumbling, she managed to get lucky on the second try.
There they were! Her little darlings. She was happy to see her two little Yorkies as they bounced around her feet. Just don’t trip me she thought. Already in her door, she felt better. The last year and a half have been a nightmare. If it wasn’t for her little puppies she didn’t know what she would do. Except maybe crawl deeper into a wine bottle… stupid covid.
The nice man restored her faith in people. Not that she didn’t know some really nice people. She couldn’t remember what happened to the nice man. Oh yes, when she got in her door and the puppies were there… she said thank you didn’t she? He was gone now. Oh wait there he was again at the door.
“Miss, my first aid kit isn’t in the truck, do you have anything to clean that wound?” The man was asking very strange questions.
Wound? she didn’t feel anything until she looked down and saw the blood on her knee and running down her leg. It wasn’t bad though she would have a shower… a shower would fix her up. “I’ll be fine young man, thank you very much for everything.” With that, she closed her front door.
Barrman jumped back into his truck. He felt like he did the right thing, but leaving the lady at home knawed at his mind. Should he have taken her to a doctor? The hospital? She was just really drunk and would probably sleep the whole thing off and be fine with a bump on her head in the morning.
Bump on her head… That’s what was bothering him. She seemed ok and it wasn’t a big bump but… Maybe he would go check on her after dinner. After all, she said she had no one in Kelowna…
Barrman stood outside the door of his truck. he was busy packing and getting ready for the big road trip to Vancouver Island the next day. He was standing at the back door when he heard it, it was a phone. There it was lit up on the floor in the back seat. Barrman grabbed the phone and looked at the front of it.
It rang again, he answered it and put it to his ear. “Hello?”
“Hello oh, thank god you answered. Can you please bring me my phone? It’s Debbie from before. I am so sorry…”
“No problem Debbie you aren’t far away. I”ll be right over.” Barrman chuckled and hung up the phone. He shrugged and realized he was going to check on the little old lady he’d help off the road earlier after all.
It was a crazy world he’d been living in. He was glad he was able to help someone who needed it and that she would be ok. It made everything feel like it would be ok… eventually.