Small town parades are supposed to be uneventful, fun, and wonderful slice of Americana that we all relax and enjoy. Such was the expectation as we prepared for one of my favorite parades in the State of Maine, the Harmony Parade. Our day of Americana was rudely interrupted today with the blaring of the horn of an out of control antique Thunderbird careening down through the parade route, with its slow moving participants. As I yelled for the kids who were waving our signs to get out-of-the-way, a terrified teenage driver flew past and shouted at me, “I can’t stop!”
He had lost his brakes. A few seconds later, the car barreled around the corner ahead, all the while blaring his horn and the brake lights flashing to no avail. The parade ground to a halt, people began to run towards the car’s direction of travel just out of sight to my left, and my heart sank.
The poor young driver had side-swiped one of the Shriner’s midget trucks. Farther up the hill, the Thunderbird had come to halt. Thankfully, the driver of the Shriner’s truck was not seriously injured, although he was transported for precautionary measures.
I am writing this thankful to God for his protection today. For the young man driving the car, I echo the words my friend, Scott Seekins, spoke to comfort him in his shaken state in the aftermath. Many, who have the luxury of hindsight, will have different “right” scenarios to offer this young man, although it’s a safe bet the 75% of adult drivers could not have guided that car without brakes, through a crowded parade route.
I saw the look of terror in his eyes as he shot past me. If this boy could hear me, he should know, he did his job, his responsibility to the best of his ability. This young man, despite his fear and terror, guided that car without brakes, and by the mercy of God, no one died today. That young man should be commended.