Sometimes Life Calls Us to Act


By Mary Jane Walsh


I recently came back from my trip to Thailand and Vietman (pictures soon, I promise), and I had one of the singular most life-changing experiences while I was there.


It was a hot afternoon in the old city of Chiang Mai, and my boyfriend and I were heading to a coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up.


I order my long black espresso, and we waited at a table. There was a window next to me, and I vaguely noticed a man’s head in my periphery outside of the window.


Then, all of a sudden, I saw him shaking, trembling, collapsing. Like moving through water, time slowed. My first thought was that he was having a heart attack.


I ran outside to help.There was a very thin man holding the other man up and seemingly pulling him to stand up.


He was still shaking and trembling. I went inside, and said to the non-English speaking baristas that we needed an ambulance now and grabbed a bag of ice.


I went outside and put the ice on his head and face. There were several people. But, no one stopped to notice.


Just then I realized that the man was actually pinned between a 1950’s BMW and the wall. He had been working on the car, and probably the jack fell to the side and pinned his body against the all.


This thought flew through my mind. A woman whose child is trapped under a car can lift several hundred pounds through sheer adrenaline.


The man’s eyes were rolling to the back of his head. Again, without thinking, I decided that I was going to lift this car. Just then, people started showing up. My boyfriend was next to me, and two others grabbed the front of the car. I yelled, “1–2–3. Lift.”  Again.  “1–2–3. Lift.”  We lifted the car off of this man, and he fell to the ground. He was completely in shock. Within 5 minutes, the ambulance arrived and lifted him inside the car.


I was in shock too. For a long time, I had a fear that I wouldnt be able to act if life called me to act. I feared that I would be paralyzed, but moments like this, which we all experience, teach us that we are stronger than we think, that we all need each other, and that we are more capable and courageous than we ever imagined.