Donna Fleming, San Juan Capistrano
Mickey is the name I will give to a fast young boy on a skateboard in this true story.
Mickey was so fast that I did not see him a few weeks ago crossing Del Obispo wearing a faded brown T-shirt, blue jeans and no helmet. I was driving down Del Obispo and making my turn onto Camino Capistrano just before dusk. I looked both ways and accelerated into my right turn just as Mickey came in low, arms spread for balance and speed, just two feet to the left of my car on the crosswalk. I was already accelerating when I noticed the small flicker of light off of his smile. His sly smile was the only reflective part and parcel of this young boy—he wore no reflectors or helmet. It happened so fast. Mickey was little more than a small dark shadow when his smile flashed and caught my attention and he sailed in front of my moving car with a dirty windshield. Thank God I caught the small movement and slammed on my brake pedal. He flew past the front of my car, jumped the curb and headed south on Camino Capistrano.
After turning, I pulled over and retrieved my composure and my items resting on the floor of my car—handbag, book, notepad, CDs, junk mail. Annoying? Yes. But I was so grateful that Mickey had smiled. It was his silly smile that saved his life. He was probably thinking, “I can make it,” or any number of stupid teen thoughts as he sailed across the crosswalk. Kids assume they are unbreakable.
After gathering up my things and my thoughts, I went on with my errands. But it bothered me, knowing how close I had come to knocking that kid into an intersection. I imagined all of the what if’s. What if I had to tell his mother, “I’m sorry I just did not see him?” Life is so precious. Please slap some reflective tape on your kids’ skateboard and bike or shirt. Make it a rule. Be safe or stay off the city streets.