The phone never rings this late.
It can’t be good.
“Hello?” the father answers.
A familiar voice on the other end of the phone: the mom of one of their son’s friends.
“There has been an accident,” she says, trying to collect her breath. “Your son was in it. You need to come right away.”
Upon hearing the news, the mother screams.
They quickly dress and rush downstairs and into the car. Every possible outcome races through their minds. They try to remain positive, but time stands still.
Once at the scene, Mom and Dad see their son being attended to by the medics. The medics begin to pile him into the ambulance. Mom goes with them, and Dad follows, unsure of what will come next.
Their son, who was in the accident with a couple of his friends, all aged 14, was not wearing his seatbelt. The driver of the car, a professional driver for one of the other friend’s families, was at a light.
He waited properly and then proceeded once he had a green light, only to be hit by a driver traveling an estimated 100 miles per hour.
Their son was lying outside of the vehicle when they arrived, a blanket over him to keep him warm. Luckily, he was not thrown from the vehicle, and was able to lift himself up to get out of the pulverized car. The vehicle had flipped over three times.
When the friend’s mother arrived on the scene (only randomly having seen and recognized the flipped car), she rushed to him, only to hear him say, “I can’t feel my legs or my face.”
As they raced to the hospital, no one knew what was in store. Brain damage? Broken bones? Permanent paralysis? Worse? No one knew what to expect for this vibrant, smart, athletic young man.
They checked into the hospital and waited while the staff ran all sorts of tests. They made sure there was nothing missing, nothing they did not see.
Amazingly, he was ok. ‘Some sprains and soreness; certainly, some cuts and bruises, but no breaks. He was going to be ok.
Weeks later, still not fully cleared for sports, he was already ready to return as if nothing had happened before. Amazing.
The parents decided that they wanted to do something. Something meaningful.
So, they hopped on a plane to Israel and went to a facility for disabled children. They decided that they wanted to donate money to help this facility and to donate in the name of their son.
This was no small financial commitment.
But this commitment was what felt right – needed to positively impact the world.
Most of all, what a lesson for their son.
Leadership is what you do when no one else is watching, when no one expects you to follow through, and that’s a great lesson for all of us.