By Michael Morse

“Attention, Engine 3 and Rescue 1: Respond to 647 Broad Street for an MVA involving an unresponsive 10- year-old.”

That will get you going.

We flew out of the station toward the incident. Engine 3 arrived on scene first and radioed the findings.

“Engine 3 to Fire Alarm: Advise Rescue 1, we have a minor MVA. The 10-year-old’s mother wants the ‘Have her checked.’ Alert and conscious, proceed Code C.”

Code C lets us know the “emergency” is not really an emergency, just somebody’s idea of an differenceemergency that really isn’t. An old car had a minor scrape on its side. A middle aged woman sat in the driver’s seat, her daughter occupying the seat behind her.

“You guys are all set,” I said to the officer of Engine 3. They went back in service, I stayed with the police and talked to the mom.

“What happened?”

“A guy in a white car sideswiped me and kept on going. I called 911 from my cell phone and asked for the police. I was worried about Monique. She was sleeping in the back seat when the crash happened and didn’t wake up.”

I looked at Monique. Ten years old, dressed in clean hand-me-downs, a little overweight, and the weight of the world on her shoulders from the expression on her face.

“Are you okay?” I asked her. She shook her head, yes. She looked fine, minimal damage to the car, minimal damage to the occupants.

“We could take her to the hospital and have them do an exam if you like,” I said to the mom. Monique looked at me as if I had just turned into Frankenstein’s Monster. I checked my neck to see if any plugs had sprouted. Nope.

“Or, we could do some vital signs and you guys could go home.”

Monique liked that idea; so did mom. Adam went to get the equipment. I sat in the back seat next to the little girl and asked a few questions. Did she know where she was? She did. Did she know what day it was? She did. Did she know who the president was? Boy, did she ever. A smile that could have lit up a coal mine turned her face from plain to beautiful. As Adam assessed her vital signs, I told her mom loud enough so she could hear that her daughter was absolutely adorable and would surely break a lot of hearts as she got older. Monique’s smile somehow grew.

We left them, mom and daughter feeling better about themselves than they did before the accident. At least I like to think so.

Please allow me some self-indulgence for a minute, but these are the kind of things that let me to do this job over and over, year after year. I honestly believe that in some small way, by showing a lonely, possibly homely 10-year-old girl that had her own brand of beauty that glowed when she smiled, my actions have the chance of making a difference in her life. Maybe I overthink things, perhaps I give myself too much credit; but I envision this girl years from now, looking in her mirror, maybe a little down, but remembering the firefighter who said she was adorable and would break some hearts, and just maybe that little positive flow of energy will be enough to keep her from making poor choices that come with low self-esteem and poor body image. Maybe.

It’s people like this who help me more than I help them. I need to think I actually do make a difference.…/2016/06/the-difference.html


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