The dogs have an appointment to have their nails trimmed at the vet. My daughter Mindy is joining me and has the dogs on the dual leash and is going to sit in the back of the car with them. I (like a nice guy) open the back door so they can all pour in (reminder that Captain Jack is the dreaded Jack Russell). In order to accomplish this”nice guy” feat, I put my wallet and iPhone on the top of the car (I’m wearing gym shorts).
To get to the vet, it’s about a 20-minute drive which begins going down Finn Hill; through the stoplight at Viking Way; followed by a sharp left on to Bond Road (one of the busiest roads in the county as it leads to Kingston and the ferry terminal). Once on Bond Road, the speed limit is 35 miles per hour and I’m living at the limit with cars all around me. Mindy is in the back with the window rolled halfway down so Jack can stick his head out the window.
All of a sudden, I hear a thump. Mindy says, “Dad, where’s your phone?”
Me: I say, “I don’t know..why”
Mindy: “Because your wallet just flew in the window and hit me in the face. I think you left your phone and wallet on the roof of the car!”
I find the next best spot to turn into. As I maneuver around to go back, Mindy says, “Check and see if it’s still on the roof.” I know it’s not, but at this point I’m grasping for luck. I jump out and right behind me flies Captain Jack. Luckily, he was still leashed and I grabbed him and threw him back inside. Back to the scene of the mishap we fled.
As I’m driving back, I know that the results will be dire. I envision my iPhone of 4 months strewn about this busy country road. Mindy guides me to about the place she remembers being hit by my wallet. “Look,” she exclaims. “On the road!” There, in the same lane I had been driving minutes ago, was a small black object. iPhone down! Cars were screaming by it at 35 mph (and then some). I pulled over (making sure Jack was secure this time) and got out. I put my hands out to stop traffic, which initially had only mild success. One side stopped and as the opposite car went by, all I could think was, “This last one will probably get it.” It didn’t. I bent down and retrieved my iPhone. I turned it over and hit the little button. There was Jack and Bella’s photo!
As I walked back to the car, I saw a familiar car coming the other way. My other daughter, Kelli was driving back with the kids she was babysitting. She would later tell me she thought, “Who’s that idiot in the middle of the road about to be hit by a car? Hey, I recognize that guy.” She pulled over to help me out, not knowing why I was on the side of the road. I motioned her on and got back in the car. Amazingly, the iPhone had no cracks, no dings, and only a minor scrape to the skin. It was basically as good as it had been when it slid off the car.
- How did the phone and wallet stay on top of the car as long as they did?
- What are the odds that the wallet happens to fall straight down into a half-open window recently vacated by a dog’s head and into my daughter’s lap (after hitting her in the face)?
- How is it possible that the cell phone manages to land squarely in the middle of the road, in one piece, so that all the cars driving by go right over the top of it?
- How did Mindy’s eagle eyes spy that “itty bitty” phone on the road?
- How did I NOT get hit by a car?
Other than thanking St. Jude (the patron saint of lost causes – I don’t think there’s one for iPhones yet), I’ll have to chalk this one up to serendipity.
Are you paying attention to serendipity in your professional and personal life? What unbelievable events happen to you and are you taking advantage of them?
This was a close call for me. My risk management “hat” will allow me to use this story in some speech or article at some point as a metaphor for close calls. I’m certain I will find other uses. You need to stay in your moment and find ways to leverage serendipity that happens in your life. Whether it’s a speech, an article, or just a change in your life, make sure you take full advantage.
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved