On the way to work on Monday, my wife called me to tell me there was an accident on one of our local roads. She happened to be stuck in it, and while no one seemed to be hurt, the cars were in bad shape. She felt bad about not stopping to assist, but she mentioned that there were plenty of people milling about, so it seemed like her joining in would be unnecessary.
Later that night, as she was scanning Facebook, my wife saw a plea from one of the people involved in the car accident for witnesses. It seems like though she believed she wasn’t at fault, the other person involved was blaming her, and trying to pin the damage done on her and her insurance company.
My wife had been only a few cars behind, and had seen the accident as it happened. She wondered if she should reach out to provide assistance since she agreed with this young woman. “I was a witness” she said, “but I don’t want anything to happen to me for speaking out.”
It’s sad that our desire to help others often brushes up against our desire to keep ourselves safe. Certainly we want to do what’s right. Is it so bad that we want to make sure we end up okay too?
My wife asked what I thought. I said that I would support her in whatever decision she felt was right, but I mentioned that since she had evidence to support the woman who was wrongly being blamed, it really was her duty to share it. Regardless of worry about what would happen to her for speaking out, she owed it to that woman to share what she saw. After all, if the tables were turned, she would want someone to do the same.
My wife left the room to think, and I hoped that she would make what I felt was the right choice. But, I also understand where she is coming from. There have been numerous times in my life where I have made the decision for self-preservation, rather than going out on a limb. As I’ve gotten older, however, and gained more experience in the work that I do, I’ve realized how valuable relationships are, and therefore, just how much I need to put myself on the line to help someone else get off of it. It’s that important.
My wife ended up reaching out to the woman who was seeking witnesses, and they have been chatting and exchanging information. I know my wife is nervous, but I can also see she is relieved. While it is often a hard decision to make, the decision to support others in what is right, is the only way we can ever be the type of individuals we each want to become.