Friday, August 29, 2008

One Second That Changed the World

When the driver turned the truck a slight bit to the right…maybe trying to miss the stalled car, maybe grabbing a napkin to wipe up the spilled coffee or maybe just nodding off – it was all over. His huge truck swerved to the right and the truck box continued left – landing at a sudden stop against the very tall light pole. The contents of the truck box spilled all over the road and traffic began to slow to a stall.

It was 2:30 AM and this small pause in time amplified to mega proportions by 6 AM – then by 8 AM their were millions of people creeping slowly to their work place – or perhaps many that simply turned around and went home. The entire 401 Highway was shut down until almost midday.

Imagine one small slip and it was over for thousands upon thousands yesterday. One man’s goof, or one truck’s breakdown stopped a city from functioning.

I cannot honestly say what happened. But I saw the evidence of the load laying on the road and the engineers checking to see if the light pole would have to come down after being damaged.

As I thought of this yesterday, how many times does a simple mistake on the part of one person cause such damage? It takes one foolish side step from the norm to make a huge difference in so many lives. In the case of yesterday’s truck accident it stopped a whole city and every one coming from the east side to not get to work on time. Millions upon Millions of dollars were not delivered on time as thousands of other trucks sat on the gigantic parking lot called the 401 Highway.

In our area one meat packing plant owned and operated by the Maple Leaf Foods Company is now being pointed to as the source of a huge mistake that has now killed more than 15 people – 12 in Ontario. Apparently on Line 8 & 9, in mid July, in the large food processing plant something went wrong… and the very dangerous bacterial infection was somehow released into the meat that were packed. Without anyone seeing what was happening it went from that plant to at least 15 different places across Ontario and Canada. Many people perhaps were sick but 15 passed away.

Was it one small error on the part of one over tired plant worker? Did some one just not care enough to do their job that day… a lackadaisical attitude that allowed the contact to take place and pollute the product.

My point – is the fact that one “small sin” changed a lot of people’s lives. It likely happened in a heart beat… truck or poisoned meat products….both changed people’s worlds. 15 people lost loved one and countless people may have lost money and even jobs with some very small mistakes.

A man I know made a really stupid decision to climb into bed that other person – not his wife. The adulterous affair went from bad to worse until he couldn’t stop. It all started with that one stupid decision. Today his wife is fighting for everything. He cannot see his children anymore because of threats. His life is in shambles… having lost everything.

Another “one-time-stupid-mistake” by one person that will affect the lives of his children forever – so silly…so ridiculous… so stupid – what can you say?

There are days that I wonder at the words people use toward each other. One slip and it is over – a friendship is lost. One action in a truck and whole city stops dead. One dumb worker that misses his cue to keep it clean and 15 people are dead and perhaps many more are very ill.

One second can change a world for everyone.

What will you do today to make sure you are right on? “No mistakes here… I will do my best…my absolute best”…. is an old attitude that made a difference in a big way.

I want to stand up and shout – “You can count on me!”

How about you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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