A couple of days ago I witnessed a car crash. Not just cars that had crashed, but the crash itself - I was looking at the intersection as it happened.
One car come through a give-way intersection without stopping and ended up right in front of another who was driving down the main road. A loud bump, window glasses and bumper plastics flying out, a car coming to a stop at the wall of a building.
I ran towards them and was fishing out my mobile phone on the go, ready to call for an ambulance.
Of the three people, two were looking scared and anxious, but physically alright. The third - a guy whose side of the car took most of the impact, right into where he was sitting - was obviously in shock. Eyes wide, he was looking out into "nothingness" and not focusing on anything in particular.
I was standing at his window - the glass was all gone -, "Are you alright?" He looked in my direction and was motioning towards his chest. "Sore," he replied and then started looking around with that dazed look again. There was blood on his hands. "Am I bleeding?" he asked, looking at me. "Not from your head, no," I replied, not knowing what else to do.
At that point, another woman arrived. Straight away she knelt at his window, face close to his, and started talking in an assured, calm voice. "Hi, my name is Shirley. What's your name?"
"Paul," he replied.
- "Hi Paul. How are you feeling?"
- "I bet. Tell me where does it hurt, please."
I walked away, leaving them to it. I had The Girlie to pick up from preschool and the woman looked like she knew what she was doing. Three other people were at the scene, helping.
I left my phone number with one of them in case police needed a witness report later (they did) and walked towards preschool.
And I thought, man, that's what was necessary.
I've been through several first aid courses. I think I know, mostly, what to do with people that are injured - physically - but I have never learned, I don't think, what to do mentally, like that woman was doing: engaging the injured man in a conversation, gaging his wellbeing through his answers, getting him to focus on her, offering comfort.
I think I'd like to learn that.