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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Infants Playing in the Street March 9, 2009 2:49 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Transportation, Travel
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Nubbin Ridge is an old farm road turned into a two lane speedway. I recently had the pleasure of being told stories by a man who grew up in the area of baling hay on the Stooksbury farm which owned much of the land near Wallace Road (forgive me if I got the family name wrong). He spoke of the rolling land and forests that are long gone. Sprawl and shortsighted urban planning has turned Nubbin Ridge into a shortcut for locals avoiding congestion on Northshore Drive and Westland Drive. Nubbin Ridge still has those fun dips that if you want to gamble that there’s no cars or animals on the other side, and you hit the hill fast enough, it tickles your stomach like a roller coaster. Here’s the rub. It’s not a farm anymore. Most of the land has been partialed out and turned to residential neighborhoods. Children walk these roads, and ride their bikes because our urban planners have failed to connect the neighborhoods with sidewalks or greenway trails.

Today I crested a hill and my heart fell into my stomach. 50 yards ahead of me I saw a dog on the double yellow line. But no! It was not a dog; the living creature was an infant, a tiny infant who looked like she’d just learned to waddle on two legs. She moved from the double yellow, dead center of the road, to smack dab in the middle of the left lane and stood still. She was not in my lane but in the lane of oncoming traffic just this side of one of those tickle hills. In the distance I saw a car approaching. I stopped the van, turned on the flashers, and walked to the child trying not to scare her. I put my arms out, she opened her arms, and jumped into mine. As I carried her toward her home, the oncoming car zingged past my van without slowing down. A car in my lane approached and without hesitating to wonder why my van blocked its lane, zipped around my stationary vehicle. After handing the child to its mother I started back to my car. Two more vehicles rapidly approached showing no sign of slowing so I just put up my hand and stepped into the road forcing them to stop (and hopefully but doubtfully think), got in the van, and made a mental note to drive much slower on Nubbin Ridge from now on.

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1. Eric - March 9, 2009

…. first off, you did a very, very good thing…… secondly, why was that child playing in the street?……. no amount of civil regulations on driving slower will slay the fact that there was a toddler in THE STREET…….. was the kid’s mother functional when you brought her child back to her safe and unharmed?……

…. good god…..

2. Doug McCaughan - March 9, 2009

The child wasn’t really playing in the street. Cathy and I figure she was at best 13 months but probably younger. She had simply wandered into the street and become lost. The mother was not incapacitated. She wasn’t drunk or high. Perhaps she was watching television, cleaning or dealing with another child. I believe they were leaving their doors open to take advantage of the weather (or maybe they don’t have a/c).

It left both Cathy and I very upset.

3. paula - March 9, 2009

Holy crap glad this story turned out better than it started! This is horrifying but we had exactly one instance when our son was 4 he had let himself outside luckily just to the front yard but it could have wonund up differently. We were in the middle of cooking dinner as well as packing boxes and had a house full of adults who each thought the other knew where the kid was
Thank God you guys were there!

4. Doug McCaughan - March 10, 2009

Children are curious and sneaky. I think we all relate to this situation which is why as scary as it was, I am not too quick to pass judgment on the mother. It was less than a year ago that Amy went walking on Northshore. It takes a village. We must look out for each other. I wonder if there is a group or church that would donate a child gate to this family to put on their porch so their little one cannot wander into the street again.

5. Barry - March 10, 2009

Well, there are all kinds of heroes, you know.
A man can get to be a hero
For a famous battle he fought…
Or by studying very hard
And becoming a weightless astronaut.

And then there are heroes of other sorts,
Like the heroes we know from watching sports.
But a hero doesn’t have to be a grown up person, you know,
A hero can be a very big dog
Who comes to your rescue,
Or a very little boy who’s smart enough to know what to do.

Or a man who rescues a kid from the middle of dangerous street.