Phebe B

Every time I rolled my ankle or stubbed my toe as a child, my sisters – much older than I—would laugh and tell me to suck it up. I would run inside and cry to my mom; she would kiss it and make it better. But as I got older, a kiss was not all it would take to be better.

Year after year, thousands of people get into auto accidents, but driving down the road and seeing a speeding car approaching me was not something I ever expected to happen to me. I was paralyzed with fear. I always thought your life flashing before your eyes is a cliché until i was actually convinced I could die. All that I could think of was how I could make sure that I would survive.

After rolling out of the ditch I was knocked into, I shaking. I felt my heart drop into my stomach and my knees were weak. My eyes were peeled open in shock; I could not even blink for fear that if I closed my eyes another car would come after me. I could hear people talking to me, but they seemed to speak another language of which I was unfamiliar. I needed to call my mother; I knew I could depend on her. So called my mother—on her birthday—and informed her that I had been in a car crash. She told me that she would be right there and not to worry.

Hanging up with my mom, the next step I knew I had to take was call my insurance company. On the phone, I was assured that they could help. They sent a truck to get my car and took my statement. The person I spoke to was so nice and even gave my mother over-the-phone instructions to help lead her to me because I was in too much shock to do it for me.

The whole time, I was shaking, but I had the faith that I would be covered. I believe that that is why insurance exists—not to pay bills or tow your car, but instead to ease some of the stress of trauma. When I was hit, I was not thinking about the logistics, but it was comforting to know that someone had my best interest at heart.

Having a near-death experience took away an element of my innocence. Death had become real to me, and stopped being a concept that was so far away. Being hit by a car made me realize that you really never know what can happen to you at any given moment and you always need a plan B.

I am the worrying type, so I always do my best to make sure that everything I have to do is perfect an orderly. That is a quality that makes me an excellent student and leader. Being the perfectionist that I am, not being able to control my process was agony, but I was calmed by the team of people that were working feverishly to keep me at peace.

The people with my insurance company were very helpful by going the extra mile to make sure that I was taken care of. People who work in insurance have dedicated their lives to service to those who endure unexpected hardships. From life insurance to auto insurance, they work with death all the time, and are the ones who do the behind-the-scenes work that makes life so carefree and painless in the face of death. Left to us alone, there would not be enough strength to handle grief and all the responsibilities required to get life back in order.

After my accident, I was given the ability to continue focusing on my busy lifestyle. I hold six leadership positions in the nine student-led organizations and honor societies I am a member of. In addition to that, I volunteer with Winter Park Memorial Hospital and the HOPE Foundation. Having such a demanding schedule that requires me to be flexible, I need to have reliable transportation. After explaining this to my insurance company, they were quick to offer me a rental car while I waited for my claim to be settled.

Once my claim was settled, I was able to afford a new car and go back to achieving in high school. My education was not hindered by my accident, and for that I am grateful.

So when the pain is even more than my mother can bear, there are people on the outside that will help. Horrible things happen every day, and there is always a need for extra measures for protection. The same way you don’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, you don’t live without insurance. Having a safety net is essential, and even if it feels like an added expense that you never use, it is an investment in your future that you will see the use in when you need it.

I can only imagine where I would be if my parents had not built that net for me. It was a true expression for their love for me because they invested in care for me that was far greater than their individual capabilities. I am happy that I had that protection that allowed me to be able to go back to being a child again when my mom could just kiss it and make it better.

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