NextDoor can be helpful or hurtful

It was the day after my 69th birthday. I asked myself—why am I here? 

It was an ordinary day. I got in the car to do errands. I passed the elementary school and turned left on Canterbury Road, heading toward Meadowbrook. I was driving down a hill. Something caught my eye. There was a young child pedaling quickly down the hill on the sidewalk. 

A thought came into my mind. Something is not right! This child should not be pedaling quickly downhill. I drove slowly, alongside him. Maybe my unconscious mind was offering protection.

In a flash, he came to the stop sign, but failed to stop and look both ways. Instead, he crossed the street in front of me. 

In another flash, I saw a white car also crossing the street, heading right toward the small child. Stop, please Stop. The driver did, right before he would have hit the child.

I was obsessed during my errands. What could I do? I didn't want this to ever happen again. I made the decision to reach out on NextDoor, the neighborhood communication venue. I described the incident and sent a plea for parents to teach their children about the street.

A kind woman responded. We put our thinking caps on together. The woman was able to determine who the child was and volunteered to speak to the child's mother. The mother welcomed the information and pledged to speak to her child.

To say I was relieved is an understatement. I had been decompressing from my trauma of almost seeing a child get hit by a car. I again posted on NextDoor with the message that, because of NextDoor, the incident came full circle. 

I also mentioned that I had been hesitant to post on NextDoor because historically, some comments have been, shall I say, mean.

Maybe I figured out the answer to the initial question which I asked myself that morning after my birthday. Why am I here? To save a young child's life. 

But this isn't about me. This is a reminder that we are a community, and we are here to support each other. I beg people to review what is written. Is it hurtful? Is so, perhaps count to 10. Read it again. Will it be supportive of our fellow community members? If so, then—and only then—hit send.

Laurel Hopwood

Laurel Hopwood is a registered nurse and community activist.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:45 AM, 10.05.2021