I came close to a having a bad car accident recently. I drive on freeways in Los Angeles four days a week for upwards of 100 miles or more a day. In most cases I drive at rush hour. Earlier this week a 7 car accident happened around me while I escaped unharmed. A red car in the left lane ahead of me was hit by a car on its left, the red car lost control and spun across my lane into the lane on my right. She hit two cars. I jerked the wheel to the left without breaking and steered through the mess. The cars behind me were not so lucky. I was being tailgated by a panel truck. He drove into one of the two cars hit by the lady in the red car. The panel truck was hit from behind too. In the end there were seven cars involved, with the lady driving the red car suffering serious injuries. There were a host of smaller injuries. I stopped long enough to help the injured and give a statement to the Highway Patrol.
I told a coworker about my close call. She immediately associated it with God watching over me because I am a “good person.” She does not know I am an atheist, and as is my custom, I do not interrupt her with my version of reality. There are many reasons for this, politeness is a consideration, so is propriety, plus, I am just developing a business relationship with her.
Later, when I had time to think about it, my internal script went something like this:
I’m sure glad I took that defensive driving course back in the military. And driving with four or five car lengths open in front of me sure helped. I need to remember to do that as often as possible. Paying attention helped too. If I had been texting, wow that would have been bad. I’m sure glad I was not speeding. 50 mph is still too fast for heavy traffic.
There was no luck, no blind chance, and no god involved in my near miss. No nothing other than a series of decisions and experience leading to a successful result. I’ve happy to have survived without injury or damage.
Later that same day I met a man named Don while buying my lunch. Don was reading his Kindle while waiting in line. I was doing the same thing while standing right behind him. We compared notes on the Kindle and our love for the device. He invited me to join him at lunch. One does not say no to an invitation at El Pollo Loco.
He bought two 12 piece meals with all the sides plus a smaller three piece meal. I bought my normal meal. We ate together and talked. He owns a small garage in Sylmar and specializes in electrical repairs. I asked about the extra food. He said it was a donation for the local homeless population. When I asked why Don explained that he was a Christian. He buys extra food whenever he can afford to do so and drops it off for the homeless and hungry at a local park. He believes it is his duty to take care of others. He does not go to church. He simply interprets the Christian message as a directive to serve others. How cool is that?
I provided the deserts. I was happy to be alive. Churros for everyone!