I passed the Valero where I totaled my first Mustang last night. I hadn’t been over to that part of town for awhile and I kind of forgot about it.

I had pulled out and couldn’t see around a sign and the next thing I know, there was a terrible noise and a bunch of dust in my car. (Have you ever had a wreck when the air bags deploy? They are dusty and smell weird.) An old lady driving a Neon and I had collided: she hit the back half of the driver’s side of my car.

So I sat there, completely stunned, not knowing what to do. If you’ve had a car wreck, you know the feeling: it’s like your brain can’t quite put all of the piece together yet. I remember thinking that I had probably totaled my car, that it smelled bad, that it was dusty, that the radio had stopped–

And then someone opened the door and grabbed my arm and said, “Come on. You’re alright. Get out.”

And I did. And a woman stood there and shook my shoulders a little bit and said, “Honey, you’re OK. Do you have a phone? Can you call someone? I called 911 already.”

So I did. And I dialed the wrong number twice, and then I finally got it right, and said a shaky, “Mom?” into the phone and the woman next to me barked “Say you’re OK!” (As a mother myself I see now why she said it.)

She said her name was Judy and that she had seen the wreck from across the street and had run over to help. She said she would stay with me until the police came and someone came to take me home.

And after all the dust settled, and the tow truck and the police and the lady in the Neon were all gone, I was getting a ride home. And my driver said, “Who was that lady you were hugging before we left?”

And I said, “That was Judy.”

If I ever see a car wreck, I’m going to try to be someone’s Judy.

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