Things like this happen. I would love to think that every time they did there would be someone as compassionate and caring as Danny. Driving home in the early morning hours on a beautiful summer evening can be the most peaceful time in your day. Windows down, music playing and no one around but you.
Then, like all things good and bad, it happened in a moment, a split second out of nowhere.
"Oh my God!" he screamed. "What was that?" Danny pulled to the side of the road. What seemed like an eternity and at the same time a blink of an eye, he sat confused and dazed.
His heart now pounding, hands shaking, he suddenly realized he hit something. Most people would run to the front of their car to see the damage. He would have every right to. He just bought the pick-up a few weeks earlier. He and his mom drove across the U.S. together. Danny is in the Coast Guard and was headed to his new assignment somewhere along the east coast.
But this night, along a darkened road, traveling alone, Danny hit a deer. The creature was his first concern.
There, alongside the road struggling to get up, the deer moaned in pain. Danny, still shaken, slowly approached the animal. I believe there was a moment here when both he and the deer were one. Both scared and struggling. Both in pain but wanting desperately to run away.
The deer could not. Danny stayed.
Now in a moment that one might see in a movie, staged and almost unbelievable, Danny moved closer to the deer, finally kneeling down to comfort her. It was then the whole thing changed. Danny discovered that the deer was pregnant. As if hitting the deer wasn't hard enough, Danny was overwhelmed at the possibility of taking two lives instead of one.
Now you can imagine what it's like getting a phone call in the middle of the night from your son. She thought the worst. After explaining what happened, Danny assured her he was fine.
If you have children, you know how difficult it is trying desperately to teach them, influence them, and help them to make the right choices in life. They grow up, move on and you pray that you did a good job.
She did a great job.
"Mom, she's letting me pet her. She's dying. There's nothing I can do to help her, but I'm going to stay here with her until she dies," he said.
Being the mom I know her to be, she told him, "I'll be right there." Pausing to get directions to where he was, she dressed and jumped in the car to join him.
We all hope and pray that we can always "be right there" for our children. Reality is we can't. That's when we discover that somewhere along the way, they actually listened to us and respond to life just the way we taught them.
His mom loves all kinds of animals. She won't kill a bee, she's rescued small birds and strays through the years he watched her.
In the middle of a beautiful summer night, when music and thoughts of tomorrow should have been the setting for a perfect journey home, Danny sat along a road petting a dying deer.
"I did good!" she told me the next day.
Yes, you did. So did Danny.
And it all happened...in a moment.