Always Wear Your Boots

Flip Flops are part of his riding gear

A guy on a motorcycle passed me yesterday by driving around me on the wrong side of the road.  I glanced over at him and saw the he was wearing a helmet, a leather jacket and flip flops.  The flip flops made me cringe.

My mind flashed back to the motorcycle accident that happened outside of a bar I used to work at a few years ago.  I was just opening up one afternoon when I heard the impact.  I ran out to find the motorcyclist sprawled on the sidewalk a few feet from the door, his helmet still on.  An SUV had turned left into him, then screeched away, leaving its license plate and broken headlight behind  in the intersection.

I called 911 and knelt down next to him trying to keep my face calm.  I didn’t want to alert him to the truth of his situation.  He was wearing low top Converse sneakers with no socks.  His jeans had been torn off of one of his legs, displaying his foot.  It was barely connected to his ankle.  Like out of a horror movie, the skin on the foot was turning a pasty green and the skin on his leg was peeled up, revealing the muscle and bone underneath.  I was surprised by how little blood there was, or maybe I blocked that part out.

There happened to be a motorcycle shop right next door.  The mechanics ran out carrying blankets and towels to lay over him.  I was holding his hand, talking to him, telling him the police were coming and he was going to be okay.  The mechanics and I exchanged shocked glances.  They knew about these kind of injuries.

The ambulance and police showed up quickly.  The motorcyclist was stabilized and whisked away with the sirens blaring.  The police ran the plate.  Stolen car, hit and run, they told me.

“Do you think they’ll save his foot?”  I asked one of the cops.

“You’d be surprised what miracles SF General can do.  They have a great trauma unit.”

A few weeks later I asked the motorcycle shop owner if he’d heard anything about the rider.  He shook his head as he told me.

“Lost his leg all the way to the hip.”

I gasped.

“His foot was gone but then he got an infection and they had to take the whole thing off.”

I poured him a shot.

“You’ve gotta always wear your boots.”  he said.


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