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Photo ofAdan Perez

I started walking to school and back ever since I was in fifth grade, until this unfortunate incident happened one year ago when I was in 10th grade.  I woke up early one Thursday morning, everything seemed normal, but that day I took a bit longer than usual to change and get ready to leave. Around 7 a.m I said good-bye to my mom and siblings and rushed out the door so I wouldn't be late for my first period class. I started to walk to school just like any other day and after a while of walking it was time for me to cross the street. I looked both ways to see if there were any cars coming towards the faded crosswalk paintings so that I could cross. As I started to walk I saw this truck beside me that had stopped at the stop sign, not even two seconds had passed and the truck started to drive forward. As I saw the truck turn in my direction I was confused as to why he turned when I wasn’t even halfway on the crosswalk. I tried to rush to the other side so the truck wouldn't hit me, but I knew it was already too late for that as I saw the truck approaching me. At that moment I thought to myself, was this my last day? Was I going to die from a car crash? Was this the last good-bye I would say to my family the last time I talked to them? Before the truck hit me with 1000 pounds of metal I put my arms out in front of it to protect myself or possibly ease the pain, but I realized that wouldn't change anything after the fact that I slid across the street. My body felt numb when I stood up from the hit. A different driver that was on the street saw the incident and came to me to ask if I was okay. She then started to dial the emergency number and then I saw the truck driver come out of the car to see if I was ok. At that moment I couldn't really think of anything besides what had just happened. It was almost like my physical body was there, but mentally I wasn't present. After a few moments I came to the realization that the guy that had just hit me was apologizing and was asking for forgiveness. The first ones on the scene were the firefighters, they came up to me with their equipment and asked me a lot of questions regarding my well being. Afterwards, the cops arrived and asked the woman that helped me what had happened. At this point I really wanted to see my family and hoped that they were on their way. Eventually my sister and my mom arrived; I saw them rushing towards me to see if I was ok. We waited for another 10 minutes before the cops told us we could go home or to the emergency room for a checkup since my arm was hurting. Before we went to the emergency room I noticed that the man that hit me was also given the ok to go home. I didn't want him to go to jail or prison for his accidental action, but I felt as if he should've gotten a punishment for hitting a pedestrian while walking on a crosswalk. In my opinion every action should have a consequence, so I feel like a fine would be enough.  I could see from his eyes and facial expressions that he did feel sorry, so I decided to not file a personal lawsuit on him. When me and my mom got to the hospital we had to wait until it was our turn and while we were waiting I couldn't stop playing that moment in my head when I got hit by the truck so I started to play a game on my phone to ease my thoughts. This  incident made me realize  that anything can happen at any moment. My life changed in a blink of an eye and that is why from that moment on I decided that I want to live my life to the fullest with no regrets.

© Adan Perez. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.