At the beginning of this month, it was a national holiday for Indonesians and the sixth day of fasting for the Muslims. I visited my friend in a hospital who had surgery the day before. The hospital was near my office, and I was reluctant to go every day to that area. But my friends in the same WhatsApp group were going, and I thought in a few weeks I would not have to go to that area every day anymore. So I decided to go.
Just as I walked out from my room, my older brother was furious that my dad did not come home, since the latter was supposed to look after Z. They turned to me. I told them that I wanted to visit my friend in a hospital, and though at first Z did not want to come with me, his father made him go. And so, we went on our way.
I reached the hospital room, my friend who had a surgery the previous day was recovering, and all my friends had come – my best friend brought her daughter along. Not long after, the 3.5m x 3m hospital room was turned into a playground; we laughed, we teased each other, and my nephew and my friend’s daughter were playing and screaming. Those two hours were really fun. But soon, things went sour.
We bade our goodbyes at around 2.30pm, my friends parked their cars at a nearby shopping district, while I parked in the hospital. I drove my car out from the parking lot, and as a good driver (or rather, as a driver), I looked to the right and I looked to the left to make sure my way was clear. I (thought I) did notice a car from my right, but it was far enough and drove slowly, so I stepped on the gas and turned right. Suddenly, at the right side of the car, a speeding motorcycle was going to run through my car! I instantly stopped my car, but the motorcycle seemed to make no effort on breaking at all! And I witnessed with my own eyes when the motorcycle hit my car, and the passenger flew from his seat to the ground.
I was stunned! I turned to see the guy who fell, and I saw someone else was trying to lift him up. I was given a course on basic life skill, and I knew that anyone who just had an accident should not be moved, there were steps to be done before the sufferer gain consciousness, but that’s another story.
I was going to get out from the car to do the steps I was taught, but alas, the collision was great enough to not only make a dent on my car but actually crashed the fender that made my door could not be opened! In the same minute, I notified my family as well as my friends (I was going to have a late lunch with one of my friends). The security then told me to move the car to the loading bay and told me to get out from the car. With a great effort (of jumping to the passenger seat), I managed to get out from the car and had a talk with the security.
My friends who got my message, all gathered not long after. I told the security that I did look right and left and did not see any motorcycle, and the crash on the fender proved that the motorcycle was at a high speed. It was not even a big road, it’s a small road where many cars go in and out from the hospital. The security then gathered the motorcycle driver and I and the first said that looking at the position of my car, I was right. They said they were going to check the CCTV.
I figured it was going to be a long process. Knowing Z would not be patient enough, I asked my best friend to take Z for lunch with thorough instructions on what to order, while the other two friends accompanied me to the security’s office to have a talk with the motorcycle driver.
The security, who was an eyewitness, told his supervisor what he saw, and the supervisor asked how were we going to settle it. First, the motorcycle driver blamed me for stopping in the middle and he couldn’t shift to the left resulting in crashing my car, and he asked me to take responsibility on his motorcycle and his passenger’s hospital bill (the passenger turned out to be his 70 years old father). I mean, who drives a motorcycle at a high speed while a 70 years old (father or not), is sitting at the back???
I told him that I made no mistake, and my car was totaled as well, there was no way I would be responsible for his fault, too. Then the motorcycle driver said that he would take care of the motorcycle, but I should still be responsible for the sufferer. I still said no, and I was helped by my friends, though I was worried that they overdid it as well. It was a dead end at the moment, so I told them if this continues, it’d be better to just bring the case to the police. The motorcycle driver said if that’s what I want, then he’d go along. So the supervisor told his supervisor and we were to write a report on the event.
My friend WhatsApp-ed me, told me to give the motorcycle driver some money as a ‘condolence gesture’, but I didn’t have to bring the case to the police. On the other hand, my best friend had a little trouble handling Z. So I told the motorcycle driver, what my friend told me. I told him that I had other things to do, I would give him condolences money, and I wouldn’t bring the case to the police. And he said, it depended on the amount of condolences money he got. Doy! I was trying to be kind, but he was insolent! So I said that we might as well just call the police.
The securities asked if I was certain. I claimed that I already offered to settle this “family-way”, but the motorcycle driver did not want to accept my offer.
The securities showed me the CCTV recording, and it was shown that I was already in the right way, and the motorcycle driver was on the right lane too, except that he drove too fast. I was certain that even if we went to the police, the police would side on me, I even found out the number of the police who helped me the last time I had accident.
Z came back with my best friend some times later while the motorcycle driver was in the emergency room. Z kept on asking when could he use gadget. And I tried to explain to him that the predicament was not good. What if I had to go to jail, because even if I was right, there’s a sufferer caused by this event? Z insisted that I was right, and he tugged the supervisor’s arm telling him in Indonesian language that I was right. I was going to stop him before my friend told me to let him be. He was learning to be assertive. But Z got nervous in the middle that he started to stammer and speak in English.. lol.. poor thing, though. I asked him what did he want to tell the supervisor, and he answered that I was right and shouldn’t go to jail. So I told the supervisor, who was all the while smiling.
The security told us that the police had arrive and we’d better go the emergency room. As we walked out, my father came. He left his meeting and went straight to me. I told him that we called the police and we were going to the emergency room. He said it was better to see the patient, and he said that I should take care of the matter myself, which I intended to do.
When we got there, the motorcycle driver’s brother had arrived too. The patient had gained consciousness and sat up, but he had a large bump on his forehead, and his whole body was in shock. He had not been treated except his wounds being cleaned. It turned out that his family worried about the hospital bill.
So, we all gathered at the hospital doorway, and discussed what to do. The brother still claimed that I should help with the hospital bill. Then I said I didn’t want to, because it meant that I was wrong and I had greater loss. This debate went on for quite some time.
Then my father said that he would check how much was the bill so far, because he felt sorry towards the patient, and I went to my friends. My father came back to me and said that he would take care of the bill. I asked him how much it was, but he didn’t want to tell me and I kept on asking, finally he answered, it was predicted to be five million. Five million rupiah! That was almost 500USD! Naturally, I said no. I said I should take care myself, and I didn’t want him to bail me out every time this kind of things happen. But my father was more persistent, he said there was a guy that needed help, that it’s a holy month, and it’s never wrong to do good, etc, etc.
I went to my friend, pouting. I told him about my father’s decision. I said that I was not happy, disappointed, even. How would the motorcycle driver learn his lesson if we paid the hospital bill? He could do the same thing and blame the next person. But then, my friend said that my father was noble, he saw beyond who’s right or wrong, because in accidents, no one wants to be wrong. Especially in this case, there’s a sufferer. My friend said no wonder my mother loves my father, he’s a very kind man, and he acted what Jesus would have done. I was almost crying when my friend said that, because I knew I was hard hearted and I failed to be kind when there’s an opportunity to do so.
So, my father went to the cashier, the patient was being treated, and we waited. My father came out with a weird look in his face, he told me that he only paid 360 thousand rupiah for the medicines. 30USD!
After everything was settled for the time being, and the patient walked out, my father told me to talk to the patient. I was going to do that without him telling me so. Anyway, I walked towards him and asked how he felt. He said he still felt some pain in his body, and I wished him speedy recovery.
Then in the car, my father said, we would never lose to be good. He was actually helped by an acquainted doctor in the hospital, that’s why he didn’t have to pay for the doctor fee nor the room, just the medication. And somehow, I still wasn’t moved. I rebutted by telling him that when I was living alone, I served in church, and yet, I still experienced disasters.
For two weeks, my car was in the workshop, the interior was dented and they didn’t have the spare parts. Closing to holiday, the workshops were fully booked, too. And my car could have stayed in for three months.
If you ask me, I had no idea what I’ve learned. But a few days after that, I heard a sermon by a Muslim preacher nearing the break fasting hour. He said, why would anyone constantly fast, constantly pray in the mosque, if he is not kind. And I felt a slap on my face. It’s like, God is trying to teach me something that He even used a preacher from another religion for me to hear!
I still have a lot to learn. I know I’m not a perfect human being, but then again, no one is. I know every week I said I wanted to be better, and yet, every week I failed. I think I’m going through a journey, I don’t know what, but I do hope to be a better person.
– Dum vivimus vivamus, dum vivimus servimus –