Saving Lives

I almost saved someone’s life today. Almost. I was driving down a busy Scottsdale street when I noticed the rear passenger wheel on the fancy silver car in front of me wobbling a bit. “I should tell that person that their wheel should be checked,” I thought, imagining the driver zooming down the freeway and the wheel becoming more and more wobbly and then dramatically flying off and a horrible accident following.

I made an effort to move lanes and get next to the car. I was hoping for a red light so that we could stop next to each other and I could perform my life saving message. All of the sudden, the driver in the silver car cut me off. “Not nice!” I thought. I moved over another lane, thinking, “I forgive you, silver car, but stay in that lane. I’m trying to save you.” Yet again, the driver cut me off. I was getting more frustrated. “Stop fighting this, silver car. Help me help you…” I whispered under my breath, quoting a line I think I heard from a movie. I moved back to the middle lane so that I could stay next to the driver. We reached a red light. The silver car’s driver’s side window was already down. I rolled mine down and leaned over to get her attention.

“I wanted to tell you….” I began. But she interjected, “Well I wanted to tell YOU. Learn how to drive—stop changing lanes all over the place and speeding up and slowing down!” And then she sped off, leaving me at the green light with cars honking behind me.

I had tried to help, but it is hard work trying to help someone who isn’t ready to hear what you have to say.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.