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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I was driving down Center Street to the freeway today and was stopped at the light at Orem Blvd. I was just kinda looking around and noticed this guy in a motorized wheelchair going over to push the button for the pedestrian light. Between the sidewalk and the pedestrian light is a small grass hill. He couldn't reach the button from the sidewalk, so he started to move up the hill and proceeded to continue rolling right onto his back. I watched in horror as he fell out of his wheelchair, head hitting the sidewalk, hat flying out into the street. I audibly gasped and threw my hand up to my mouth. Luckily the light turned green right then, so I quickly turned right, pulled into the Roberts' parking lot, taking up 2-3 parking spots, and tried frantically to free myself of the seat belt and get the car in park, etc.

I was frightened to see that the guy was still there on the sidewalk by himself. It had taken me a minute or two to get to the parking lot. But as soon as I got out of my car, there was another guy at my side and we both ran over to him.

He was laying on the ground, eyes closed. I was frightened. My heart was threatening to crack a rib or two, spurred on by the torrents of adrenaline pumping through my veins. I just knew he was dead or at least unconscious. I knelt down next to him and shook his shoulder. His eyes flickered open. Relief flooded over me. "Are you ok?" both the guy who ran with me and I asked together. "Yeah, yeah. I'm fine." "Did you hit anything?" the other guy asked. The guy on the ground answered a bit sarcastically, "Yeah. My head." Humor was a good sign.

So the other guy started to help the wounded guy to his feet while I tried to stand his wheelchair back up. Have you ever lifted a motorized wheelchair? They are ridiculously heavy. I also spotted a piece of rubber on the ground. Trying to figure out where it belonged, I searched the wheelchair. It went on the joystick. Then I had to try to move the wheelchair over to the guy who was now being assisted by Guy #2 who had just joined us. I tried to just push the wheelchair over, but that doesn't work very well in a motorized wheelchair. We finally got him back in his chair as another lady showed up. The whole while, we just kept asking if he was ok and he kept assuring us that he was fine. He seemed quite chill about the whole thing, if even a little embarrassed by the attention.

I pushed the pedestrian buttons for him, then told him so. "Oh, is that what I was doing?" Uhhhh… bad sign. Then he glanced over and was like, "Oh yeah. I was trying to reach that button when I slipped back." (Ok, better sign.) Then he decided to go on his way. The other lady refused to leave until he crossed the street safely*. Me and the other two guys then left just as another woman joined the fray.

We got to the parking lot, all still shaking from the rush of adrenaline. Turns out the first guy didn't see what caused the fall, only the fall itself. He was afraid that he may have fallen into traffic. The second guy didn't see the fall at all, only the guy laying on the sidewalk next to his wheelchair.

I'm glad I was there to help the guy. More so, I'm glad other people responded as quickly as they did. I never would have been able to help that guy into his wheelchair. It took two grown men to do that. I'm glad I didn't have Kessa with me, because I don't know how I would have handled that. Would I have left her in her car seat in the car in the heat? Would I have taken the extra time to unbuckle her, then try to help the guy with a baby in tow? And mostly I'm grateful the guy was ok.

That was a very scary experience.

*I realized as I was driving off that we should have checked to see if his eyes were dilated or anything, in case he had a concussion. Oops. Really, I hope he's ok where ever he is.


Tiffany said...

Oh my goodness! I am so glad you were there! What a scary experience...

AnnDear said...

Especially the "small" ones tip over surprisingly easily. I've seen a couple tip over in downtown SL, they usually catch as they make the bump from ditch to asphalt and back again. Never a good thing. And yes, they are heavy!

Jessalyn said...

Oh Tianna you are such an angel! I'm glad you were there! This is such a sad experience for him! I hope this doesn't happen to him often!