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Wrong Place, Right Time for Life Lessons

By Terri Edmund April 01, 2024 Mindset

I don’t enjoy driving, especially on crowded Florida roads during tourist season. So, I splurged on my dream car: a neon yellow Chevy Blazer which looks like a bumblebee and makes the chore of driving more fun. I confess, though, I prefer public transportation. But that wouldn’t work the day my puppy Bandit was to be at the vet by 7:30 to be snipped and chipped (poor baby).

The ‘bee and I had just left the vet’s office to rejoin rush hour traffic. Listening to the drive time DJ and waiting to turn left, I watched in seeming slow motion as a gray blur spun out of control and flew at me, the other driver and I in an instant eye lock bracing for the inevitable.

All Shook Up

The damage was done in seconds, and I was trapped in my car with a frantic man banging on my window wanting to know if I was okay. All I could do was nod yes. I needed to stop shaking. Intellectually, I know all that adrenaline and cortisol is bad for me. But I couldn’t stop the shiver.

Since we were blocking a busy intersection, good citizens all around were calling for help which arrived in minutes to pry me out of the ‘bee. The frantic young man had been driving a BMW, recognizable now only by its emblem. After apologizing again to my shaking self, he called his dad to say he’d wrecked the Beemer.

From my polite distance, I heard the dad give the kid a vicious verbal spanking and knew right then I wasn’t going anywhere until the dad arrived. The biggest difference between the young driver and I that day was also the biggest similarity. For me, my own dream car was toast. For him, it was his dad’s dream car. Still, both were just cars. We were fine and hoped Dad would see it that way, too.

My shaking had stopped, and I felt prepared to defend the kid if necessary. He was so polite and well-spoken, one of those kids you know is going to be successful in 10 or 20 years.

The Great De-Stresser

Paperwork was almost finished when a man wearing red sneakers about the same build as the kid rushed up and wrapped him in a big, long hug. Red Sneakers introduced himself to me as the dad and asked if I’d pray with them. His temper had evaporated on what must have seemed a very long drive to the accident scene. Even the police officer joined us in prayer.

I don’t remember most of the words, but I heard them all in one sentence: “glad you’re safe … special car … higher insurance premiums … lesson learned.” All the tension was gone. We were laughing together as my bruised ‘bee was wrenched onto the flatbed.

As traffic resumed and the kid moved his schoolbooks and a gift bag to his dad’s everyday vehicle, Red Sneakers visited with me.

“I learned a lesson today, too,” he said. “My son wasn’t ready for the BMW. I wanted him to be able to show off for his girlfriend’s birthday – drive her in a nicer car, you know? Damn, I loved that car.”

As tough as Dad had been on his son, he was being pretty tough on himself, too. It was just a BMW, right?

Right Person, Right Place

I called my partner of four years to tell him my troubles. After he asked all the right questions to make sure I was okay (the shaking came back as I recounted the accident), he took over. Talk about being with the right person at the right time in life.

My sweetheart is an auto body collision master who loves my ride as much as I do. The tow truck was diverted to his shop, and I was in a rental car by lunchtime, moving my gear from the ‘bee to a plain white SUV. That’s when the biggest lesson hit home.

As I rummaged through the stuff I had left in my car, I found packages and library books to be returned and a box of my own books to deliver to a shop run out of stock. The folder with my tax work was buried under new inventory of community band shirts. Somehow, I’d become the shirt lady for concert band after promising myself no more committees, no more boards, no more…. Then I found the forgotten takeaway food box.

I was disgusted with myself. As much as I believed I loved this life of my own making, it took an accident to show me I was buried under a big pile of rubble. It had become too much.

The Need to Let Go

As achy shoulders set in from gripping the wheel during that seconds-long crash, I knew I would miss concert band practice that night – my third miss because of travel and now this. When had band become a chore and not a joy? I dashed off an email to our flute section leader, took two deep breaths and felt great. Now I could go to work on my taxes without the constant nag to practice music, though I promised myself to play every day – play being the keyword.

Returning packages and library books was next, then picking up Bandit in an unfamiliar car on the same road as the morning’s calamity. He was so happy to see me, so adorable in his little cone head contraption. I felt only happiness. No stress at all. Oddly, it had been a very good day.

We never know where we’ll find the opportunity for a new perspective. I can’t wait to have Bee back. And I hope the kid finds a really good side hustle to pay for the higher insurance premiums.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What accident have you experienced that changed your perspective about your life in general? Have you changed anything in your life since then?

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It took a major injury from a sports injury to learn to listen to that quiet, inner voice more, and not to override it by trying to prove myself tough or anything.


I can’t believe how much JUNK there was in this car. A folder of tax documents? Clothes? Old food boxes? The car probably smelt bad,& would have been a delight for ants, & quite possibly thieves (who could see interesting items through the windows).
Ladies! Take a moment to take care of your things!
File your tax documents somewhere safe in your home, look after your (or other peoples’ clothes), bin the rubbish.
I can’t believe this woman!! An accident waiting to happen.

Langhofer Gaylin

Oh quit being so judgmental. You totally missed the point of this beautiful story!!!! Chillllllll

Janet Esselink

I think you are being a bit too judgmental. That stuff in that woman’s car was hers by Choice. Not your choice. ( obviously)

Jacquelyn Harris

I really don’t like driving either. I believe it is because I never had much of an equilibrium and operating a vehicle really tests it. Don’t worry, I was born this way so it took me longer to learn to walk and drive, etc., but I’m confirmed better at those things than most people by professionals so, no worries. Still I don’t like it because while I am focused and very good out there, many are not and I feel that I’m at the mercy of impatience, anger, frustration, mental illnesses, medicated persons and lackadaisicalness. Yes, they are all out there with us and all we can do is to drive defensively (meaning expecting people to make mistakes and trying to be ready for them) and pray. So, I relegate myself to driving to the drug store, the grocery store, hair dresser, any place that is no further than 10 miles from home – preferably 5. That being said I could definitely relate to this article. The accident she had is my worse nightmare being no fault of my own and inescapable. I am so happy that no one was hurt any worse than they were and I absolutely adored that they prayed with the Father, once he arrived. . . a time when things could have escalated. Thank you God for being there. I had to laugh because I have everything from an old tire to books I promised myself to deliver to the Children’s museum months ago in my car too! People, please pray before you start your day because you never know what may happen and what people’s reactions will be. Also, do not push yourselves beyond what you feel you can do and do well. Love to all and thanks for this article!


Wow, what a story! I’m so glad you and the other driver were ok! Brilliant insights into deep intuitive messages, and how to turn around a nasty situation, a lesson we can all take to heart.

One comment on the shaking….you wouldn’t want to force a stop to the shaking. That is the release of trauma. if you force a stop, it could allow the trauma to reside in your body, later to manifest as PTSD or illness. Better to shake it out when it happens. (The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk is a good book to read about that.)

Stay safe and well!

Terri Edmund

Thank you for the insight on the shaking. And thanks for being a reader. Stay safe!


So glad it all ended well. Yes, shaking is the body’s way of releasing the trauma. You could also try EFT (tapping). Blessings

The Author

Terri Edmund is a retired innkeeper on Florida’s Suncoast, currently polishing her first novel about a feisty gal born during a hurricane in 1921. In the summer, she camps near the beach in the fishing village of Cortez. During season, she plays flute with the Manatee Community Concert Band. Learn more at

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