A Thanksgiving Day
Toronto Sun, Letter of the Day - October 14, 1999
I realized exactly how much I have to be thankful for last weekend.
On a picture-perfect holiday Monday the lives of a group of people
heading north - probably on their way to festivities of their own -
took a sudden, unexpected turn for the worse.
In scarcely a heartbeat, I found myself kneeling beside a person who
had been an utter stranger until that very moment. He lay motionless
on the cold pavement, amid the broken glass from the husk of a
motorcycle which now lay bent and broken at the side of the road.
Joined by a handful of others, we searched desperately for a pulse,
finding no signs of life. A woman, declaring herself a nurse,
quickly began CPR. I met her gaze and mentioned that I probably had
stronger lungs and she quickly nodded, moving into a better position
to administer the compressions to his chest while I moved to take
Some time passed. I'm not really sure how much, and there were still
no signs of life from the young man on the road. Voices fluttered at
me, the ambulance was apparently approaching and the other man on
the motorcycle was asking how his brother was. We continued our
efforts to bring this person back into the world until a paramedic
appeared beside me and, after closely examining the man, apologized
to all and stated that there was nothing more we could so.
I stood back while they covered him up, amid a scurry of uniforms
and flashing lights. I wondered what his name was. The reality of
the situation began to set in as someone took me over to the
ambulance to check me out - a life had been lost today. A young man
just two years older than myself.
I remembered how I had argued with my mom that very morning about
something as trivial as what to wear to Thanksgiving dinner. It
seemed very small all of a sudden.
I was thankful to finally arrive at my uncle's house to see all of
my family members safe and sound. But somewhere another family had
lost a son.
I give thanks today for every aspect of life that I once may have
taken for granted and mourn the loss of someone I will never have
the pleasure of knowing
(Editors response: Human nature being what it is, we
get hung up on petty trivialities instead of living each day to its
Toronto Sun, Letter of the Day - October 19, 1999
On Thanksgiving Monday I unfortunately witnessed an automobile
accident in front of my home where a young man lost his life. I am
not writing about the accident itself but what happened afterward.
I saw a group of complete strangers come together in a remarkable
way. There were two people who pulled their cars sideways on the
road to prevent traffic from passing. This allowed the injured to be
treated in a safer environment.
As a young man lay on the cold road, three people tried frantically
to save his life. There was my wife, Carol, a nurse, a young man
named Tom and a woman whose name I did not get. These three people,
complete strangers to each other, banded together to try to save
another complete stranger's life.
When the ambulance arrived they were informed the young man they
tried so valiantly to save was dead. The three were led to the back
of the ambulance and seated on the bumper. They sat there pale and
spent; their faces blank.
As the ambulance attendant spoke to them and helped clean them up I
stood there thinking these were three of the most incredibly caring
people I had ever witnessed.
I thought about this incident all week long. I still think of what
these three tried to do for this stranger. In particular, I think of
what young Tom did. He performed mouth-to-mouth on the victim. That
in itself does not seem remarkable unless you were there. I am not
going to elaborate, as the scene was very messy.
I was very impressed by this young man's composure and caring. On
Oct. 14, your letter of the day described the accident. The letter
was from Tom Williams. Reading his words, they only confirm what I
had already seen. Tom is a young man of incredible character. He
participated in a courageous effort to save another young man's
Tom Williams is an outstanding citizen and deserves to be recognized
for his efforts on that Thanksgiving Day. I am not downplaying the
role of the others, but to me Tom stood above the rest.
(Editors response: As an eyewitness, you should
recommend the regional police give Tom and the others a civilian