Child Saved While Crossing Street Pays it Forward
When the light turned green, the eight-year-old stepped off the curb to cross a street in New York City. Immediately, a stranger behind him grabbed the kid by his coat and yanked him back up onto the curb. At that moment, a utility truck careened around the corner paying no heed to the child pedestrian’s right of way.
Had that kind gentleman not intervened, the little boy would have been flattened flatter than a wad of rolled out dough under a pastry chef’s rolling pin. No one had told that child to look around and make eye contact with drivers when preparing to walk across a busy intersection.
That little kid was me.
Fast forward 50 years. Now I get to pay it forward. Through our corporate support of many road safety organizations and initiatives, I’m able to return the kindness that stranger showed me, making a difference in the lives of millions of children and their families.
With no one intervening on their behalf, some 500 children are killed every day in road traffic accidents around the world. Thousands more are injured.
These accidents are preventable. Simple measures kids can take include making eye contact with drivers, crossing at the corner, staying within the crosswalk, obeying traffic signals, putting down electronic devices, and avoiding drivers’ blind spots. Additional measures may include environmental modification measures such as the use of pedestrian countdown timers, the installation of rumble strips and speed bumps, and lower speed limits.
At FedEx, we have worked with a child injury prevention organization called Safe Kids Worldwide for more than 15 years. Over that time period, more than 16,000 of our team members have helped Safe Kids reach more than 10 million children through lifesaving pedestrian safety training initiatives in ten countries around the world.
We also support the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. Launched in 2011, this effort aims to significantly reduce the number of road accidents around the world that take nearly 1.3 million lives and leave as many as 50 million people injured. The impact to communities worldwide is unspeakable.
In support of the Decade of Action, FedEx is a member of the UN Global Road Safety Collaboration. The collaboration is a group of interested governments, NGOs and corporations working together to make a difference in this area. The photo featured with this blog post is of me speaking at the World Health Organization International Headquarters in Geneva. I was sharing with the members of the collaboration practical examples of how corporations may bring their resources to bear in helping road safety NGOs accomplish their work around reducing the number road accidents.
In March, FedEx is sponsoring a summit for the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety. The Alliance is an umbrella organization that represents more than 130 nonprofits active in road safety in more than 90 countries. The summit will provide an opportunity for these organizations to learn the latest in best practices and to do important networking with each other. It will propel the participating organizations into even greater effectiveness as they help save lives on the world’s roads.
If by any chance you are reading this article and you remember saving a little kid’s life all those many years ago in New York City, please accept my heartfelt thanks and know that I am gratefully paying your kindness forward.