03/20/2014 11:45 am ET Updated May 20, 2014

To the Person in a Hurry

I'm sure you were in a hurry. I'm sure you thought you could make it across the busy street. The street covered in morning traffic, in unplowed, powdery snow.

It was 6:50 a.m. The sun had risen despite the grayness of the day, the misty haze hitting cars like fine sand. It glistened as it stuck to my windshield, made my car fishtail in wavy, curving lines. There was a stoplight ahead, a 7-Eleven on the right. You were on the left, about to bolt from a side street.

And then you did. With no warning, just a daring slam of the gas as you sped across my path, making me slam on my brakes, making my car lock up, serve and crash into the side of the road. The woman behind me, not wanting to hit oncoming traffic, crashed into me instead.

I'm not sure you even realized what happened. You may have just slid into your parking spot, walked into the store toward the pastries, the coffee or the spinning sausages. It really doesn't matter. But the people you could have harmed do.

The woman who hit me was young and in her 20s, had a brown ponytail, concerned eyes, a sweet disposition. She was visibly shaken, kept apologizing. I'm sure she has a family, people who love her.

You don't know (or perhaps didn't consider) that I have a family, too. That my toddler could have been in the back seat (thankfully she wasn't). That we're about to buy a house. That hopefully my car isn't totaled, because we really don't need (can't afford) another car payment.

But please know this: our actions matter. Every one. The selfish ones. The careless ones. The reckless ones. The seemingly insignificant ones. When we forget others. When we're impatient or preoccupied. When we're discourteous, graceless, or tactless. When we don't check in. When we check out.

Thankfully there are the good actions: the caring actions, the considerate actions, the patient and poised actions, the helpful actions, the loving actions. Those all happened that day, too. I'll hold onto those.

I suggest you take hold of them, too.


Oh and in case you're wondering, I'm okay. (Thanks.)