This is one of the most difficult topics for me to talk about, because it’s the one time in my life that I have to make myself vulnerable. In the spirit of full transparency, I would be quite the hypocrite if I didn’t live by my own motto, right? So fuck it… here it goes.
In February 2017, I was working a second job (moonlighting) as a bouncer in Nashville, TN. in conjunction with serving in the US Army as an Infantryman stationed at Fort Campbell, KY. I got off around 0330 on a Saturday and was looking for a gas station to fill gas before I made the early morning trip back to Fort Campbell. My chain of command wasn’t aware of my weekend job, so I was always a little extra-cautious about how I went about it.
If any of you are familiar with Nashville, there’s a sort of suburb called Antioch that is kind of the “hood” of Nashville. That’s where the club I bounced at was, and the surrounding area wasn’t exactly “American Dreamy”. I looked for a gas station that had good security features like cameras, or was a little better maintained to reduce the risk of being caught in the middle of something that I didn’t want to be a part of at 0330 in the morning.
Finally, I found a Mapco gas station by one of the interstate exits, but it wasn’t open until 0400, so I waited by one of the pumps. At just about 0350 I heard a loud crash, followed by a bang, followed by all of the lights on the block (including the lights at Mapco) shutting off. I thought a gas line had exploded because of the level of noise that came with the explosion I heard. The real cause of it changed my life forever.
What I had thought was a gas line exploding, was actually a 2015-2016 black Nissan Altima crashing into a power line pole going about 45mph, about 50m behind me. When I saw it, I kind of just sat there and stared at this burning car… then it hit me. There’s literally a fucking burning car right by me. I called 911, and drove over to the accident, trying to explain to the 911 dispatcher what had just happened and where I was (all I knew was the main road Nolensville Pike).
When I had just finished explaining the situation, that’s when I realized there were still two people burning alive because of this accident. Another car who (thank God) had stopped to help showed up and we both helped get the two high school kids away from their car. When we got down the embankment away from the car, my eye level was at the same level as the bottom of the car. I saw fire dripping down from the undercarriage, and thought the car might explode again (this time majorly) because, well… that’s what they do in the movies and the car was already almost covered in flames.
I pulled both occupants of the vehicle behind a nearby building one at a time to safety, and when I had them both back there I started assessing the injuries. I have no idea where the other male who stopped to help went, but he was gone at this point. The passenger of the car had a lot of blood around his right leg so I removed his pants to find exactly what was going on and the extent of his injuries, because his pants were pretty badly burned. That’s when blood started shooting out of a fairly large cut a few inches above his knee area. I’m no medic, but I know that blood shooting out of a wound probably means an artery is severed. I didn’t have a tourniquet, so I made one out of the passenger’s shirt, and a piece of metal I found on the ground.
Overall it took over an hour for the ambulance to arrive to the scene, and during that time both passengers kept falling in and out of consciousness. Throughout that hour I ran back and forth to each passenger and kept “waking them up” – partially because I didn’t want them to die, and partially because I didn’t want to be alone. I was terrified. It was the closest experience to death that I had been faced with up to that point.
Both passengers survived, underwent skin graph treatments, and the passenger I applied the tourniquet to survived a list of injuries that I can only describe one way… he should have been dead. I don’t credit myself with saving them, and I’m certainly not a hero. Anyone in my shoes (I’d like to believe) would have done the same thing, or at least tried to. I just happened to be the guy there at the time.
It was about a few weeks later that I made a promise to myself. To truly live each day to the absolute fullest, to be a good person, to make people laugh and feel like they have a purpose, to never be ordinary – because it doesn’t cost anything to be a good person. That’s when the Never Ordinary movement was born.
This is where you come in. This movement means literally nothing unless more people decide to be a part of it. So take the leap, make a life change, become a part of the Never Ordinary movement.