Letter: Heroes hiding among us
June 20 was a crossroads in my life. I fell asleep at the wheel in Snowmass Canyon. After seeing my totaled Toyota Camry the next day, if I had any doubts about angels, those doubts are forever gone. I should not have lived, let alone walked away from that crash. The last seconds of my miraculous driving to avoid being T-boned into two large trees at more than 50 mph were navigated expertly by my higher power, since my eyes were tightly shut as I gripped the steering wheel in sheer panic. The only words I can remember saying were “God help me.” Ask me if I believe in angels now — 110 percent!
Which brings me to best part of my story, the amazingly selfless good Samaritans who stopped to help.
First on the scene was a fellow named Evan who works for Blazing Adventures. He immediately recognized me from the Pine Creek Cookhouse, where I am one of the managers. Evan has worked with me numerous times on Blazing Adventures projects with Renee Fleischer up at the Cookhouse. He knelt down to me and said, “K.C., is that you?” The next 25 minutes, he held my hand and wouldn’t let go until my wife, Cindy, got to the scene of the accident, reassuring me and helping me to try not to move until the ambulance arrived.
Second on the scene was another angel, Lulu who works for our friends P.J. and Jo, who own Back Door Catering. She had just come from doing a catering gig. Lulu called my wife to break the bad news — that took grace and courage — and then she graciously shared her water bottle since my adrenalin was off the chart. I think I owe her a water bottle. It’s no surprise she works for Back Door Catering — P.J. and Jo have the heart and character that attract wonderful caterers like Lulu.
Third on the scene was Jesse Steindler, one of our local deputies. His wife, Jill, and Cindy go way back — friends for 20-plus years. Jill made our wedding cake for Cindy and my wedding. And I’ve had the privilege of teaching his sons to play guitar. Jesse was a rock of confidence for Cindy and me.
Fourth was Dr. Steve Ayers in the emergency room. He has been a friend of mine for 20-plus years since his daughter was in the Earthbeat Summer Music Camps forever ago. His first reaction when he saw me was to walk over to me, hug me and tell me, “We are going to take good care of you — you’re going to be all right.” And in my physical shape and mental shape, that was such a gift.
How do I say “thank you” to all these amazing good Samaritans? You didn’t have to stop. You didn’t have to hold my hand and pump me up with love and encouragement or share your bottle of water. You all could have just driven on by, maybe slowed down for a little looky-loo.
Heaven knows what inspired you to stop and help, and you didn’t know it was going to be a friend in need, but you did the right thing regardless, and in my book that makes you a hero. You gave of yourselves selflessly, expecting nothing in return. You made big points up above.
“Thank you” are such impossibly inadequate words to use at a time like this. When people say, “I care or appreciate you,” my mother used to say, “Don’t tell me; show me.” So I’m inspired to appreciate you by outing you to our valley! I want the world to know your names and how wonderful you are.
You have all given me the greatest gift a man can receive: a second chance at life and a second chance at living my next 50 years in a more deeply profound way. For that I am deeply grateful to God, my wife and you, the good Samaritans.
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