The calm of a well mechanized work day is shattered by the thud of a body hitting a vehicle, then ricocheting to the ground. Confused drivers try to orient themselves as onlookers gather like ants after its nest has been disturbed. On the ground a cyclist lays motionless in a twisted non-anatomical way under a bicycle.
“Is he breathing?” someone yells. His chest labors to draw breath as if a ratchet was restricting smooth flow.
A bald man with red and blue shaded tattoos on his left arm is the first to come to the aid of this injured man. He is already in contact with 9-1-1 and takes a posture over the motionless cyclist like a well-trained guard dog.
“Do you know him?” I ask.
He growls, “No.”
A second man with dark, well-groomed hair advanced and asks, “How can I help?”
"Direct traffic" I said.
He yells back, "Don't let that man forget his job is to live." It keeps running through my mind, “Does he know this man?”
From sidewalks normally devoid of foot traffic, a woman wearing all grey steps into dangerously frenzied traffic to help organize flow as the swelling crowd of onlookers generously lend their support, energy and hearts. Still heavy on my mind is, “Do you know him?”
It is 6:45 on Milpas Street and not a single horn is honking. Normally, these same people bustle to get home with as little contact with each other. Now, they hover; holding each other, their hearts and heads in concern.
This scene has my mind pondering several questions. Did this motionless man on the ground have any idea he had the ability to summon all these people…including me… into his life whether consciously or unconsciously? Did he know of the connection of heart and mind he had to all these people? How could he have gotten the same attention from the community in a more positive way?
This downed cyclist is a shining example of how in each of us there is the ability to summon people into our lives. His very unfortunate accident shows me how one man can instantaneously draw in love and support of the community. Leadership is knowing that you can summon this type of involvement by a group under more positive conditions.
The last thing I saw was the man being safely transported in an ambulance with onlookers shouting words of support. I ask myself, “Do you know him?”
“Yes, I do.”