I’m not Superman. A Buick Saved My LIfe. Thank You.

May 23, 2009

Something extraordinary happened to me two days ago. I wish I had my phone to record it and post pics but it seems fitting that the words tell the story.

I’ll never forget May 21, 2009, 8:30pm. This post is a break from the industry commentary and thoughts that you’ve grown to expect (and love) on Digital U. It’s about always remembering that every moment is a gift and your life is yours to do with it what you will. You see, today is another day I can spend with my wife, family and friends. It could have been the day of my funeral.

So, I’ve set the stage. Keep reading and you’ll know what happened to me, the amazing people that helped, and the way I’ve been profoundly affected both personally and professionally. My overall lesson. Phrases like “I should”, “I wish”, “if only I could”, are no longer in my vocabulary. I’m sharing this because, who knows, maybe we can all learn a few things to make life special.

I’d just spent two very productive days with a client in Syracuse, NY and was headed back home to London, Ontario along 1-90 (amazed at how used to the 4.5 hour drive I’ve become). Along the way I stopped by the Premium Outlets and bought a few things including a kick-ass Under Armor hoodie and a nice leather jacket for my wife (outlets are great :)). Happy with the crazy deals and full from an over-mayonaised tuna sandwich from Subway I hit the highway to finish the long trek. Somewhere near Rochester, where you’ll find a Mobil service station, I saw it.

I was rolling on cruise control in the Buick Allure I’d rented from Enterprise Rent-a-Car when I came up over the slight elevation in the highway and was faced with tractor trailer tire debry. Now I’m no rookie on the highway and I’ve seen broken tire pieces before but this was different. The debry wasn’t off to the side or in one lane, it was like a minefield. I moved to avoid one big piece only to be confronted by another and BOOM! The biggest piece of tire head-on, taking out my tire and smashing my windshield. I try by best to keep control of the car as it careens across the highway toward a massive metal structure. I think, if I hit this thing I’m a goner, so I steer away and pray. Next thing I know I hit something and feel the car flipping before I crash land, hands glued to the steering wheel. I’m in shock, and thankful that nothing came through the windshield. I kick into survival mode, turn off the car and try to open the door to get out in case there’s fluid leaking and the worse was yet to come. What happens next is a story of the goodwill in all of us, and “assholeness” in some.

I tried to open the car door only it won’t open, so I’m thinking I must be trapped, then I look through the piece of unshattered windshield to see two men running towards me. I realize that the car is laying on its passenger side so I push the door harder to fight gravity and start to crawl out….ya, imagine what it looks like seeing a car skid, flip, and smash then seeing a guy emerge from the top unscathed.

Great bystanders: Are you ok? Anyone else in there? Are you sure you’re ok? Really, are you ok?  Man, wish I had a camera that was amazing. That shit should be on YouTube. Are you sure you’re alright? Wow, you’re superman. That was crazy. I called 911 they’re on the way.

Me: Ya, I’m alright I think. A little shocked. I think my adrenaline is going. Wish I grabbed my phone so I can call my wife.

In a nutshell, the car was totaled. But I came out all good. Got checked out by the very nice EMTs who were looking at me in disbelief, blood pressure was high but nothing broken and alive and thankful. True to what they said, the shock wore off and the soft tissue stiffness in my neck and back has set in, but through x-rays, checkups, and a physiotherapy assessement I’m all good!

Thank You…to most

Thank you to the Mobil service station attendant that along with truck driver Juan Ruiz ran to help me. Thank you to the EMTs that made the situation easier. Thanks to the tow truck driver and fireman who did their job.

Thanks to the NY State Trooper for showing up…and trying to protect the state from a guy that hit something in the road and was lucky to be alive. It amazes me how some people work toward the right thing in any situation while others revert to ‘I need to do my job and protect my interests and those of my boss”.  Can’t wait to read your accident report, but glad Juan was there and gave an eye witness account of what he saw….

He was cleaning the lights on the front of his truck when he heard a loud bang. He turns to see a Buick skidding across the highway, smash into the grass embankment, flip twice, land vertically straight up in the air on its fender, then crash down on the passenger side. He calls 911 and starts running towards the car.

So officer, don’t worry I’m fine and I’m not going to sue your boss. My reward is being alive.

Juan, I’m not superman, you’re the good guy. Juan helped me understand what happened and tell the real story to the trooper, stayed on scene and made sure I was ok, and then gave me a ride in his truck to a hotel in Buffalo so I wouldn’t be left by the roadside (again, thanks for asking officer). Hope you buy that truck and your dreams come true. Enjoy that kick-ass hoodie!

And above all, thank God for blessing me to remember that each day is a gift. For again showing that people are inherently good, and for giving me the gift of life to live my dreams, be with family and friends, and pay if forward.

If you read all this, wow. Thanks for caring and hope you take away any lesson you may. May lessons? Live life, work hard, and have fun. If you’re not happy then get happy….and help others in need as you never know when you might need the help.

Oh, and buy a Buick Allure. That thing is a tank and saved my life (not to mention the smooth drive and couch like interior…glad you’re keep it around GM!)

All the best,

Jaafer


How the iPhone Changed Our Lives (or the day the App was born)

May 20, 2009

iPhone AppsThe iPhone has been celebrated for many things: great design, fun and easy to use, sharp media and a host of capabilities you never really thought you needed in a phone. But, perhaps the greatest impact Apple’s sleek device has had, and will continue to have on our lives is that it gave rise to ‘the App’. Sure, all of us that have been thinking, working, and living online since way back when know what an app is…kind of. It used to be something you used at work or at home to get something accomplished. There wasn’t any fun around it, or value outside of the exact thing you needed to do. MS Office, email, browsers, accounting programs…plus, no one ever called them apps; they are applications thank youvery much. But then came the iPhone and my sister who once took pride in not being ‘a computer nerd’ is smiling and telling everyone who will listen about the cool new ‘app’ she just downloaded. Wow.

The iPhone is great but you can get the same thing from other phones nowadays. What you can’t get on anything else is an App that lets you find the perfect place to eat, another App to get a taxi or find the closest subway stop,  and after you’re finished your amazing meal, grab the App that lets you calculate the tip between friends when you’re done. Still early? Don’t worry, find a movie to go see at the closest movie theater, play a game, or call someone long distance for free. Ya, there’s an App for that.

And that’s the genious of it. The iPhone is cool but Apps are our trusty little friends that make life more enjoyable. It’s the reason iPhone commercials don’t really talk about the phone at all but instead introduce you to more of these little digital buddies. It’s the reason that every mobile carrier and provider wants to offer an App Store. It’s the reason Google hasn’t pushed insane marketing dollars behind it’s phone. There aren’t enough Android apps yet to make your life so much better (but they’re coming!).

So, thank you Apple for giving life to the App. There’s no stopping how innovative the army of developers working on your behalf (another genious move, executed a lot better than Facebook) to make the iPhone our best friend can be, and thanks for spurring your competition to do the same.

Ideas and innovation spur more ideas and innovation. Now that the world is ready, we can get cracking on making these shiny new Apps go wherever we go. After all, my sister just asked me if she can shop for handbags on the Blackberry. Sure, why not?