Just then, Rick heard sirens in the distance that sounded more like a choir of angels. He leaned his head back against Sam’s. “Sweet Jesus, finally. Almost there, Jessica. Hang tight, Sweetheart. You still with us, Jessica?”
Jessica mumbled a faint reply. Rick felt a sense of relief sweep over him.
Sam felt Rick’s head press into his and quietly exclaimed. “Praise be.” Rick heard his comment and silently agreed. He wasn’t a church-going man anymore but knew in his heart that they had some kind of help with them even though he could not pin it down. He realized he never once felt alone.
Within a few minutes, a police car and paramedics arrived and rushed over to the group crumpled on the ground. The policeman was the first to approach and was taken aback by what he saw. He wondered if they came in time.
“We gotcha, hold on, paramedics are right behind me.”
Two paramedics rushed over with bags and a stretcher and immediately got to work assessing Jessica’s condition. After stabilizing Jessica’s head, the police officer helped Sam up first. Rick’s back immediately spasmed, and he leaned back on his hands that were now free but felt numb.
Sam brushed off the red clay from his pants the best he could, and the officer asked him if he was alright. He called for a tow truck and offered to ride Sam to the hospital to get checked out. Sam nodded in agreement. The officer pulled out his tablet and started to take down information. “Full name, young man?”
“It’s Sam Malik. Actually, Samir Malik. Everyone calls me Sam.”
The officer continued to ask questions about the accident, while Jessica was moved to the stretcher. One of the paramedics zipped open her jacket, and a bright pink knit hat fell out.
“Oh, my hat, don’t damage my hat, is there blood on it? Did I ruin it?” Jessica softly squealed.
The paramedic lifted it from the ground to show her. “No, it’s okay. No harm done. I’ll put it in a plastic bag.”
“Oh, thank God. My mom knit it for me for the rally. I know I’ll be using it again.”
Rick was taking off his flannel shirt that was covered in blood and wiped his hands on it. His t-shirt needed to come off too. He had a spare t-shirt in the truck and hoped that Joe had a pair of pants he could change into before they left for their meetup. He looked over at Sam, studying the young man for a moment. Sam was stretching his legs while answering the policeman’s questions. Sam looked over at Rick, wondering if he heard his answers to the questions.
Rick nodded to him and walked towards him extending his hand. “Thank you, Sam, for your help. I couldn’t have done it without you. The paramedics say she should come through this okay.
Sam shook Rick’s hand and then turned to the sound of a tow truck approaching. The police officer asked if Rick could move his pickup. Rick gave the officer his necessary information, and the officer said he would be calling for further details in a day or two. Rick walked back over to Jessica, who was being moved into the paramedics’ truck. Her head was bandaged like a mummy now and no signs of continued bleeding.
“You take care, Sweetheart, and remember, you’re going to be just fine. And, ah, you might want to consider wearing a helmet next time.” He teased.
Jessica nodded the best she could and thanked Rick, smiling and giving him a thumb’s up as they loaded her into the vehicle. She was clutching her pink knit hat that was in a bag to her heart as if she was holding on to it for dear life.
Rick chuckled to himself and walked to his truck. After settling in, he checked his mirrors and waited as the paramedics sped off. Rick saw Sam fishing through his car, collecting his items before the tow truck left. Sam pulled a black backpack out of the back seat and swung it over his shoulder. As he started to close the car door, he stopped and reopened it, reaching down behind the driver’s seat to retrieve a rolled-up fabric. Rick recognized that is was a Muslim prayer rug.
As Sam adjusted the backpack on his shoulder again, he turned to wave to Rick before heading to the police car.
Rick waved back out of his open window, then put on his seatbelt and dialed Joe’s number. After he explained what happened and gave Joe the new arrival time, he started the truck’s engine and reached for his baseball cap that was lying on the passenger side floor. Rick punched it back into shape and put it on his head. Adjusting the rearview mirror, he checked to make sure his hat was on straight. The red hat with its white Make America Great Again letters sat perfectly centered on his head, and he remembered his conversation with Jessica and Sam.
It registered with him that maybe they weren’t so different after all. Three strangers came together to help one another without concern for who each one was. No one ever asks where the other person is from or what they believe in before they extend or take a hand in a rescue situation. The response comes from somewhere inside that is only concerned about life and survival. Is there a way to tap into that basic human nature on a societal level? Could this somehow save us? After all, they were all fighting for the same thing—to be free.
My story is loosely based on a real rescue incident that my late brother, Rick, experienced, where he did hold a young woman’s head together after coming upon an accident scene. I profoundly disagreed with just about every conspiracy opinion my brother had regarding life and politics. Still, on several different occasions, Rick showed through his extraordinary heroic actions that his core human nature was as pure as any great soul on earth. It would serve us well to look deep into the hearts of our adversaries and see our commonality. Maybe this will save us all. I miss you little brother! Thank you for the lessons you gave me.