Precious Cargo

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Just three days ago, I pulled up to the bank, in the middle of the afternoon. The temperature gauge on my vehicle said it was 31 degrees. I looked over to see a burgundy SUV with a large German Shepherd barking inside. The window was open about four inches and the vehicle was turned off.

I shook my head in disgust as I entered and scanned the room. There was a man finishing up at the info desk. I assumed the vehicle belonged to him. I proceeded to stand in the line and wait for my turn. There were only two tellers open and three of the employees were dealing with one older female customer.

I waited quite some time for my turn and proceeded to get out all of the paperwork I needed to deal with. Payroll deductions, commercial deposit, personal deposit, bill payments, printed receipts, etc. By the time I left the bank, it was over 20 minutes later.

When I got outside, I realized that the vehicle and the dog were still there! In the scorching heat, the dog who had been barking viciously when I went into the bank, was now not visible.

I had to peer directly into the window to see the dog now laying exhausted on the seat. He looked up at me and didn’t make a sound.

I stomped back into the bank to the only customer who remained at the counter. She was the woman who was there before I arrived. I walked up to her and asked if that was her vehicle with a dog inside. She said it was.

I then stated, with a very stern voice and penetrating glare, ‘Ma’am, it is 30 degrees outside!’ Her response was, ‘I didn’t realize I was going to be this long in line’.

The bank ladies looked stunned that I interrupted them and spoke so assertively to their customer, but I was peeved. Do you have any idea how hot it would be inside that vehicle, in that heat? Dogs can not cool themselves like we can. They are helpless in there.

I waited in my car until I was sure she was coming right behind me. I pulled out and watched her leave as well, in my rear view mirror. My blood was boiling.

Maybe it is the heat that can make some of our brains go to mush. Maybe it is because we are always overscheduled in such a darn hurry. Maybe we are interrupted by too many pieces of technology. Maybe we have lost our ability to make good decisions because we have so many things to do, in such little time.

Regardless of the reason, we are much more distracted these days. Society as a whole has a problem and unfortunately it is going to have devastating consequences. It is time for us to slow down and think before we act.

When I drive, I now have to put my purse and phone in the back seat. Why? Because I don’t trust myself to not automatically respond to a message on my phone. It has been habit, for so many years, to react as soon as the phone beeps or rings. This is the only way I have found I can restrain myself and get back to concentrating on driving.

It is too easy to reach for a buzzing phone, when we know someone is responding to our text or email. I now also have a hands free booth tooth in my car, so that if I need to answer a call, I can press one button to activate it. If you have ever been behind someone who is on their phone or texting, it is ridiculously dangerous.

When I have been in my vehicle or riding my motorcycle, there have been dozens of near misses in front of my eyes, this summer alone. I cannot imagine being responsible for hurting or killing someone in an accident because I received a notification on my phone.

The pace of our world today is so fast and crazy that I would like to urge you and remind all of us to slow down and think. We all want to go home safely to our family but it takes each and every one of us to decide to do things differently.

If you are driving, please concentrate on the road. If you are riding, please assume no one can see you and the vehicles around you are not paying attention – because many are not. If you are drinking, use a sober driver or make other arrangements in advance.

The only way we will be safer and healthier is by slowing down and thinking before we act. The summer is still in full swing and life is much too precious to be involved in an incident or accident that we could have prevented.

I have a loving family, an adorable infant grandson, a beautiful toddler niece and a precious new baby nephew on the roads out there (and all of my family members have pets). Thank you for keeping our precious cargo safe.

Let’s put our phones in the back seat or in our trunk. Let’s make full stops at stop signs and traffic lights and look twice each way, before we proceed. Let’s slow down our speed.

Let’s leave pets at home, in a cool area, where they can stay cool and hydrated. If transporting your pets is necessary, please do not leave them, even for a second, in a vehicle, without air conditioning running.

Today, let’s all make a conscious commitment to slow down, think and make good decisions. All of our lives depend on it….

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.’ ~ Viggo Mortensen