This story is for anyone who knows a 10 to 16 year-old person. You need to talk to them right now about cars and neutral gear and the emergency brake. Here’s what happened:
On December 10, it was frigid outside, so my 16 year-old, not-finished-with-driver’s-ed son asked to stay in the warm, idling car, sitting on the passenger side, while I ran into a store. I came out and needed to put my purchases in the trunk. The trunk release lever was locked to protect some Christmas gifts. I asked my son for the keys so I could pop the trunk. In reaching for the keys, his arm knocked the gear shift into neutral. The car was parked on a slope.
What happened next is not pretty, so I’ll just strobe light it for you, because that’s the way it played our before my eyes. Spoiler: It did turn out miraculously well.
Doors open/car rolling backwards fast/deer-in-headlights/momentum/son turns car off/loud clicking/faster/faster/faster/busy highway behind/son jumps out/dragged/gets free/to feet/helpless/car into highway/finds level ground/STOPS/honking/honking/screeching/911/cops, blessed cops/traffic stopped both ways/push/push/push/car in park/ignition/Vroom!/Can it be?/car okay/son okay/all okay/God is good.
Very, very good.
There are various morals to this story, and obviously we will do things differently in the future. But for now: Think ahead. Talk to any young people you know. Do a trial run. DO IT NOW. They need to know in an instant what to do if a car they are in starts rolling.
Below shows one of the multiple areas of road rash on my son. This is his right shoulder. His favorite tee shirt is shredded. (That’s kind of a big deal.) The second photo is of my gratitude list the next day. Thank you, God. Thank you from the bottom of my full heart.
Note: This post was done with the permission of said son.