I had big plans this past weekend. BIG. As I left Trader Joe’s, my wildly distracted mind filled with endless tasks that I knew there wasn’t enough time in the weekend to complete. I don’t think we truly realize how unnecessarily stressed, distracted and disconnected we are until we are knocked on our asses.
I got in a car accident.
Car accidents happen often. Too often. Some are minor… some are much worse. I am lucky enough to be able to talk about mine- figured I could share with anyone who cares, or with anyone who is perhaps in the market to buy a car.
On top of my career with Bristlecone Holdings, I am also a part-time instructor at University of Nevada. I teach Entrepreneurial Marketing to 35 students and we are currently focusing on the value of a great customer experience and the value of customer testimonials. I have been reading and studying about user experience for over a year now- and I think I had an experience that tops them all: it was a life-saving experience.
It was about 5:45p on a Friday night, I had a car full of groceries as I headed home after work. I drove my 2014 Kia Sportage east on McCarran in Reno as I was struck going through an intersection, t-boned on the driver’s side. I saw the car out of the corner of my eye, right at impact. What is that?
Explosion. That’s what I remember. My car exploded.
My car flipped over and skid across the intersection, wheels up. I remember the violent vibration of my car skipping across the asphalt, I remember wishing that my body could keep up with what was happening, “Hang on it’s almost over” I told myself, I remember country music still playing, I remember seeing my stuff flying all around me. Eventually, I stopped spinning. From what I remember next, I was on my hands and knees on the roof of my car, facing the blown out back window. It was eerily silent for a few moments. Country music still playing. Crushed blueberries and tomatoes are all over my pants and on the palms of my hands. The smell of fresh basil filled my car as I saw soil from the plant that I had just purchased spilled everywhere. The curtain airbags covered the side windows, I couldn’t see around me, I could only see out the back window. Was I still in the intersection? Was I about to get hit again? It was so quiet. “Where is the rest of the world?” It was just me and God for a few moments.
We all have heard those wild stories of people gaining some kind of super power when they were placed into a life-threatening situation. It does happen. I wasn’t scared. I didn’t feel any pain, regardless of the minor injuries I did sustain. I was 100% aware of what was happening, I was placed into survival mode the second I was struck.
I was eventually pulled out of my car by a few incredible human beings, complete strangers. From the moment my car stopped spinning until I left the ER, I encountered some unbelievably loving people. There’s still so much good in this world, even in a perfect stranger. Stellar friends and family have come to the rescue. I am so blessed.
I am ok. The driver from the other vehicle is ok. Everyone is alive.
I believe in Jesus Christ… I know that God was with me and kept me safe. However- let’s talk about my car.
I am hoping that Kia gets ahold of this message, because someone was responsible for designing and ensuring the safety of the Sportage, that was someone’s job for probably a long period of time. Someone needs to know that their day-to-day efforts and hard work created a vehicle that saved someone’s life.
The outside of my car sustained a lot of damage, however the inside was relatively unscathed. I was inside a shell that protected me from what probably should’ve equated to major injuries, perhaps worse. The air bags offered me up an amazing black eye to keep me from hitting my head, which I will happily accept.
I had been driving the Kia for 2 years and loved it, a satisfying user experience. However, perceptions of brands change when products are put to the test… Especially when lives are at stake. The vehicle wildly exceeded my (and everyone else who witnessed) expectations during this accident. I bought the Kia because it was an affordable vehicle that offered all of the bells and whistles that I wanted- not because of safety. As you could imagine, vehicle safety means something a bit different to me now.
I know that too many lives are lost each year due to motor vehicle accidents, and I sympathize with anyone who has lost a loved one, or anyone who is still dealing with the residual damage of an accident. I am walking with a different light in my eye, seeing the world through a different lens these days.