I know you may have grown accustom to the regular light hearted fare you've come to know and love from this weekly clever sales tactic, but this week we're doing away with the side antics and getting right to the heart of what it means to be a hero.
And no, I'm not about to go on a lengthy political rant, offering an opinion you didn't ask for or care about, I'm just going to relay a simple story, to the best of my ability, of a near tragedy that struck far too close to home this week.
Last Sunday night, as my family and I were wrapping up a wonderful evening out to celebrate my birthday, my phone rang, it was about 8PM, and aside from my girls who were at home with a sitter, almost everyone I consider to be very close to me was sitting at the very table I was at, so discarding any possible tragic reason for this call, I ignored it. Again the same number popped up.
As (what i consider to be) a decent business owner, I figured I'd answer it, refer the customer to come into the store tomorrow, and move on with my evening. The person on the other end of the phone sounded familiar though, different, but familiar.
They sounded a bit sleepy and disoriented, and in the louder atmosphere of the restaurant it took me a few seconds to realize the person on the other end of the phone was actually one of our guys from the shop, Nick.
He was calling to tell me he'd been in a car accident the night before and didn't think he'd be able to come in the next day. I assured him it was no big deal and asked if he was ok. He told me he'd been in the hospital all day but that he'd be fine. And honestly, as only Nick could make you believe, I took him at his word that he was ok, told him I'd call him the next day and try to come by to visit after work on Monday.
After dinner, I couldn't help but think that I should text the number back that had called me, which I assumed was one of Nick's family's phone number, just to make sure he was ok. The number texted back that he was fine, a little banged up, but ok.
So I went on with my night thinking he must have just gotten into something a bit more serious than a fender bender, and would be A-OK. I went into work the next day & told our store manager Joe that Nick wouldn't be in because he'd been in an accident, but that he was alright and should be back later in the week.
I found out that Nick was at the hospital that I literally pass on my way home from our office, so I decided to drop in on him just to say hey and see how he was doing. Quick aside, hospital "security" is, at least at this hospital, non-existent, lol. I literally went up to the guard, dropped a name, and was given a room number. No call up to make sure they wanted me there, no "I need to see your ID", nothing, just head on up. Since I'm not a bad guy, I guess that was nice, but still a bit surprising.
Anyway, back to Nick being amazing, I made my way up to his room and walked in to surprise Nick. I was greeted by the usual jovial big man himself, and his lovely mother, who we've all come to hear so much about at the store, but it was my first time meeting her in person. Based on how calmly & normally he welcomed me into the room, I still thought he was A-OK, so I asked, "how you doing big guy" he responded as only he could "I'm great" to which his mom finally let me into the reality of what was going on, by telling me that he had 3 fractures in his back, among countless other bruises, cuts, etc.
Just now realizing the severity of the injuries, I asked what happened and was quickly dumbfounded. Nick and his wonderful girlfriend had been driving home on Saturday night when they came upon a car that had literally flipped over in the road. They pulled over to help out as there were no police or emergency personal on the scene at that time. Nick went up to the car and was able to get the woman that was trapped in the car out, along with some help from some other folks that had stopped to help. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the story that I was told is that after the woman was freed from the car, she ran back to the car to look for something, I guess Nick thought she was in some type of danger in going back, either she was disoriented, or the car was on fire or something, so he went after her to try to bring her back out of the road, which was a major interstate by the way, when he was struck by a car that wasn't able to slow down in time as they approached the scene. Nick was hit, his girlfriend was hit, as were several other people that had been trying to help the woman in the overturned car.
He was literally hit by a car, trying to save someone.
Right after I was briefed on what happened Nick asked, "How's Joe doing? Was he ok without me today?" I was kind of shell shocked in that moment, going from thinking my friend had maybe broken an ankle or something after getting hit IN a car, to realize that he had been hit BY a car, while trying to help someone, and the only concern he had was "How's Joe". I think I responded, "He's fine, he didn't just get hit by a car... so he's fine".
And that ladies & gentlemen, is one of the finest people I've ever met, in a nutshell. If you've ever bought anything from us, chances are about 50/50 that this man packed your books up for you, and got them to you safely. It's rare to see that level of un-apologetic selflessness in today's society, and I couldn't be more proud of Nick, or that he's on our team.
To finish the story, I was told on Monday that he probably wouldn't be out of the hospital for a while and wouldn't be able to work again for 4-6 weeks, well, he could leave anytime, but they didn't want to release him until he could walk to the end of the hall & back. Remember, he fractured 3 of his vertebrae, so I'm thinking he's going to be in for a week or so.
He called me the next morning to tell me he'd been released and was headed home.... so now I'm kind of expecting him back at work on Monday.
I don't know what else to say about this guy, I just know I'm blessed to know him, and beyond words grateful that he's apparently made of steel, and is still with us, because many mere mortal men would have been taken from us in such a tragedy, but it only took Nick down for a few days. Nick's lovely girlfriend is also expected to make a full recovery, and miraculously, last I heard no one lost their life in the accident. By my estimation, at least the woman in the turned over car, at midnight, in the middle of a major US highway, has Nick to thank for that.