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LET'S END THE STREAK...
I have a soft spot for old people and dogs. Well, babies and cats too, but there is just something about an elderly person in need that makes me want to help.
I guess that’s why I did what I never do – I pulled over to help a stranger on the road. I saw the car stopped on the shoulder and walking on the shoulder of US 59 was an older grey-haired woman and a young teenage girl.
“Can I help you? Do you need a ride?”
The lady smiled and was about to say no when the girl spoke up and said, “See grandma, I told you there was an angel who would stop to help us.”
I wanted to tell her that I was no angel, but I am honest and I wouldn’t hurt them.
The lady paused, looked me square in the eyes for a few seconds and said, “Well, I guess it will be all right.”
As they climbed in Grandma explained the car had just quit and they lived in the next town where they had family to help. The cell phone signal was weak so I settled back to drive a few miles out of the way.
The girl was energetic and talkative. She was small for her age, but said she is getting her driver’s license next year.
“I think I already know all about driving,” she said.
I wanted to tell her to be careful about what you think you know, because you can’t always believe everything you think.
Hoping to hold her attention, I asked her if she had ever heard of End The Streak. With a puzzled look on her face, she shook her head.
I explained to her how for the past 19 years, there has been someone die on Texas roadways every day and ending that streak of needless fatalities will take every driver making safer choices.
“That won’t ever happen. There is nothing we can do,” she said.
I told her I believe there is something even she can do to change it. She got quiet and listened about how that change starts with every one of us. The majority of crashes happen when drivers use their phones, speed or drink and drive. We all have to put down our phones. There is no such thing as multi-tasking behind the wheel.
As they got out of my car the young girl waved and hollered bye as she disappeared into the house. Grandma smiled and leaned through the open window to thank me.
“I worry about her starting to drive. She is a smart girl. I hope she listened to your advice,” she said.
I do too, Grandma. I really do.
Rhonda Oaks is a Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Transportation and resides in Lufkin.
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