So you know what happened?
I was driving about 55, a semi truck was coming toward me from the other way. Another car was right behind me. That’s when it happened. A small, grey cat darted out of the brush, and in front of my truck. I had one second to choose. One. I could veer to the center, avoid the cat and hit a semi head on. I could hit the brakes and get rear-ended by the car behind me, which would also possibly involve the semi.
Or I could hit the cat.
My one-second choice became no choice at all, because just at that instant, the poor cat changed direction and ran right towards me. Right into me.
I calmly pulled my truck off the road and started to cry. I had just killed someone’s beloved pet. I didn’t want to be the one to break anyone’s heart. With dread, I knocked on the nearest door, and asked the homeowner if he had a grey cat.
He shook his head no, and walked with me back down to the road. Just then the sheriff pulled up.
“Another one, eh?” the sheriff asked the man, seeing my distress and the small kitty on the side of the road.
“Seems to be,” the homeowner said. “I know my neighbors and I know their pets. This one here must be another one that got dumped.”
The sheriff and the man explained to me that this was a regular occurrence. Pet owners who no longer wanted their pets frequently left their unfortunate animals on the property of country folks, thinking that the animal would be cared for out “on the farm”. In reality, the abandoned animals are left with coyotes, foxes, hunger, highways, and big trucks. Poor things.
“They don’t have a chance,” the sheriff assured me. “No way to find out who they belong to, either.”
The rest of that day I was stressed out and on high alert. I was sad for the cat, sad that I traumatized my cat-loving daughter. I am a very conservative driver anyway, but that day I was over cautious, anticipating accidents at every corner. By the time I finally got home for the night, I was frazzled and worn.
My daughter greeted me at the door with a look of serious awe. “Guess what happened to me today?” she said. “After the cat accident this morning, I was so stressed out. I drove more cautiously than normal, anticipating the worst all day. And it happened. Just as I drove around a blind corner with a lot of trees close to the road, there they were; two kids weaving around on bikes, coming towards me on the wrong side of the road. They weren’t paying attention and they didn’t see me until it was too late. I slammed on my brakes, and one kid just glided past me, mouth open, with horror on his face. He never even stopped. If I hadn’t been so freaked out about that cat, expecting the worst, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to avoid hitting them. Those two kids are alive because that poor stray cat dove in front of us today.”
Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think the small things in each day can sometimes be the most significant. Small things change everything…like a little, grey, abandoned cat who made all the difference for a couple of kids.
Even if they never knew it.