Did I ever tell you about the time I almost saved a baby in a carriage from rolling into rush-hour traffic? I was walking down the street when I noticed a father with a baby carriage less than a block away. The dad was distracted by something and was turned away from the street and the carriage. Slowly but surely the carriage began to roll towards the street.
I started running flat-out, but at that distance it was probably going to take me at least 20 or 30 seconds to get there. Before I’d covered half the distance the dad turned around, noticed his baby rolling away and quickly closed the distance and grabbed it. It had rolled onto the street but was still in the curbside lane where cars parked, when he managed to secure it.
At this point I realized I could have just shouted out to him some kind of warning, rather than trying to get there myself. After all, sound does move faster than a person on foot, even one who used to be a track star in high school. (Also, I was never a track star in high school.)
It’s not even necessarily true that there wasn’t time to think. I was running for five or 10 seconds when he noticed his rolling baby and moved to save it. That’s enough time to sit and think about the wisest response to the crisis.
But I guess the point is that I wasn’t sitting and thinking. My first instinct was to run for it, and I put all my energy and focus into continuing to run. Only when the baby was safe did my brain, now out of crisis mode, come up with the strategy of shouting a warning.
That’s the story of the time I was almost a hero. Feel free to almost congratulate me.