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“Put That Cigarette In Your Mouth And Eat It Right Now, You Stupid Fool!”

with 4 comments

“Put That Cigarette In Your Mouth And Eat It Right Now, You Stupid Fool!”

My old white ’68 Dodge pick-up truck rattled west on Dragoon Trail through the south side of Mishawaka, Indiana. My Hospital calls had all been made, and I had visited some sick folks in their home as well.

It was almost five o’clock on this lovely Sunday afternoon in October.  I looked again at my watch. I had to get to church in South Bend on time.

I came around a gentle curve and saw a 1970’s style convertible upside in my lane. No one else was at the scene, although several houses were nearby. Stopping my truck about fifty feet away, I ran towards the car.

Five bodies lay still on the asphalt. The smell of beer and gasoline was overwhelming for me. Gas was dripping freely on the ground and on them too. Blood was everywhere on their faces and it pooled freely on the asphalt, mixing with the gas.

Half of a tongue was on the pavement beside a two-year old’s head. A soft whimper could be heard and a groan came from someone.

Beer cans from the car littered the area. These people all had to be extracted from under the car, now.

I knew I should wait and call for an ambulance under normal conditions. But this was long before cell phones, so I had no way to call.

There was nothing normal about potential gas explosions, and I couldn’t leave these folks here to burn up. I had to do something.

I was in my Sunday suit, but I got on the ground anyway and crawled under the upside-down convertible. Gas dripped readily on me too. I searched for the baby who was whimpering.

I heard footsteps behind me as I carefully pulled the baby out first. An Indiana State Trooper was the second person on the scene. I was very relieved to see him and gave him the baby. He wrapped it up carefully and carried it to a safe place and came back for more.

He told me to stay under the car and hand him the children. I removed the second child from under the car, to the safety of the Trooper.

By now, two-dozen travelers and neighbors gathered around to watch. I overheard a voice saying, that the drunk driver had been dating the young mother for several weeks now and had taken her and her family for a Sunday drive even though he was drunk.

She loudly told us all that the man was just no good, in her opinion, and she hoped he was dead. She especially wanted us to know that the woman was too good for him, but she that just wouldn’t listen to anyone say so.

The third lifeless child was in my arms by now. There was no proper setting under the car to give CPR. They had to be moved to a place of safety first. My suit reeked with the smell of gasoline, and I had blood me. I feared for my own life, but I feared for theirs even more. They were helpless, they were injured, and they were at the mercies of those around them.

I was still on my belly scooting backwards with the third child in my arms when I heard the Trooper yell at a man standing a few feet away. The Trooper, although partially under the car by now, had drawn his service revolver and was pointing it up at a man’s head. I froze.

The Trooper screamed, “Put That Cigarette In Your Mouth And Eat It Right Now, You Stupid Fool! You’re Going To Blow Us All Up Because There’s Gas Here And You’re Smoking A Cigarette! NOW! EAT IT NOW!

The man put the burning cigarette in his mouth and began to chew. The Trooper put away his revolver after the man swallowed, I then handed him the last child. That’s when the fire trucks and ambulances arrived. I crawled out, when the Fireman asked me to, as he crawled under the car from the other side. They were now in charge, and my work was done.

The Officer shook my hand and thanked me. But our efforts were to no avail. All five were pronounced dead at the scene.

In his drunkenness, the man had killed himself and four others. For the first time in my life I felt hatred well up in my mind against the driver for what he had done to the innocent people in his car. (I had to pray about that hatred later, but for now it was real and still very alive.)

Over the years, most of us have turned a corner on Life’s Road and seen a tragedy or two of some sort. Our hearts have no doubt ached at their great loss, even though we didn’t even really know them.

  • What we do, and how we react at such an event, says so much about us.
  • Do we stand around smoking “our cigarettes” just watching the tragic scene for its entertainment value?
  • Does it ever occur to us that our careless handling of fire at such a time may endanger more than we realize, and blow things up?

 

How Do You React When You Hear Bad News About Someone?

  • Do you try to help?
  • Do you just watch and make comments
  • Do you say things that stir up hatred in someone else’s heart?
  • Do you bring explosiveness to the situation?
  • Some church folks ignore the “I am my brother’s keeper” verse.

 

Remember, how we respond to tragedy, tells the world a lot about us, and we don’t even have to say a thing.

I’ll never forget the lady who gossiped about the dead man and woman. She told things about them I won’t write about. She wanted everyone to know.

I’ll also never forget the Trooper’s words: “Put That Cigarette In Your Mouth And Eat It Right Now, You Stupid Fool! You’re Going To Blow Us All Up Because There’s Gas Here And You’re Smoking A Cigarette! NOW! EAT IT NOW!

What Do You Do When You See A Backslider? How Do You React?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 1, 2012 at 12:10 am

Posted in Death, Gossip, Mercy

Tagged with , ,

4 Responses

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  1. Something I am all too familiar with right now! My husband and I are both struggling with bitterness as a result!

    Crystal Smith (Morris)

    November 1, 2012 at 12:48 am

  2. I finished reading this article � unreal experience. Thank you for sharing!

    C. Anthony Ballestero

    C. Anthony Ballestero

    November 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

  3. God help us to be sensitive to the needs of others and to have ears to hear what the Spirit says. . . Thanks for sharing your heart!

    Brian Enochs

    November 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  4. Certainly food for thought! Thanks for the reality check.

    Mary Hynes

    November 6, 2012 at 8:33 am


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