"Come quick! Garrett got really hurt riding his bike in the cul-de-sac!" his friend stood on my porch telling me last Wednesday. I was wearing boots.
I know I was wearing boots because I tore out of my house and sprinted down the street in them. Them boots weren't made for walkin' let alone runnin'. I slowed my sprint to a quick lumber when I saw my son standing--alive--in the green grass of the corner lot. His bike was on the ground, an elderly man was standing next to him, and Garrett was holding his helmet in his hands with a bewildered look.
As I reached him, I saw the blood spluttering out of his elbow. He was violently and successfully fighting to hold his tears back.
"He was going too fast. He was going too fast," the old man, clearly rattled, continued to say. Still, I asked what happened.
"He was going too fast. He hit something in the middle of the road and flew up and over his handlebars. He landed on his head. He was going too fast."
"Thank you," I told the man as I surveyed Garrett's broken helmet. Thankfully, only the visor had broken off. His bike seat was twisted 45 degrees off of straight. The man walked across the street and climbed into his car. Apparently, he'd been driving down the road and witnessed the TOO FAST and the FLYING OVER HANDLEBARS.
I thought about how it could have ended so much worse. He could have ridden his bike straight into the old man's oncoming car. He could have neglected to put his helmet on. He could have cracked his head open or caused brain damage or, I suppose, in a worst case scenario kind of way, he could have died.
But he walked away with a busted visor, a bloody elbow and a very sore neck.
And I am ever so thankful that he's alright and that he got a front row seat at the Why We Wear Helmets Convention totally free of charge. Not that he ever argued about it before but he's not likely to now.