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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Biographical · #2310874
The annual Christmas party was held a little over a mile from our office.
It was this time of year, one week before Christmas. Senior management was having their annual Christmas Party at Aunt Chilada's Mexican Restaurant, located just over a mile from our office. Our new director left work, following a couple of the partygoers' cars. The restaurant is a couple of blocks off the main road. There are no street lights, only lights in the parking area.

Our director left earlier than the others. She had a seven-year-old daughter waiting for her at home. One of the managers was babysitting. She became disoriented without the street lights. She had just started at my office location three weeks before the party. She called the manager, who was babysitting, asking her to stay on the line with her, as she was unfamiliar with where she was going. She came to a stop sign at the main road. Instead of turning right or left, she drove straight ahead. The problem was the road did not go straight through. Instead, there was a canal, part of the Phoenix canal system.* There was a break in the fencing so bicycles, joggers, and others could get by to the paved surface below. Most of the canal system had paved paths to allow for recreational activities. There was a significant decline from the street level to the start of the paved path running along the canal. The phone line went dead. The manager on the phone with her called 911 when the connection had disconnected. She felt something was terribly wrong.

Our director accelerated over the main road. There was no fence or barrier preventing her car from continuing down the incline. Her car careened down, flipping at least twice. The car landed on its roof. She was severely injured with a broken back, multiple other fractures, and a serious brain injury.

We, in the office, learned of the accident the next morning. I was responsible for telling my team. A calm came over me as I gathered my team in a conference room.

"It is touch and go," I explained. "She was operated on shortly after midnight. Her condition is poor and unstable. For those of you who pray let's do that now, each silently. Others, if you feel inclined, could send positive thoughts her way.

There was no sound in the conference room for almost four minutes. There was no eye contact. Most had bowed their heads. Something I can't explain flowed from person to person. I had asked those who wanted, to join hands. The girl to my left was in my Christian diversity group. Her hand in mine felt on fire. It was like I was getting electric shocks from her hand to mine.

Soon thereafter, we filed out of the conference room. While walking back to my office I shivered. I knew something had happened to the director. It was as if I could see her in my mind's eye. I settled back in my chair and immediately received a notification from my manager requesting all supervisors and managers to come to the same conference room I had just occupied.

My manager, Carol, announced they received a call from the hospital. Our director, with no warning, had improved tremendously. She was talking in a normal manner to her nurse. The sighs of relief all around were audible in the room. My thoughts went to her young daughter. What would happen to her if her mother did not make it? There was no longer a chance of that taking place. Our director recovered completely. She did ask to be transferred to another office because passing the location where it happened was upsetting. A huge gate and barriers were installed which prevented any car from ever driving through.

*Phoenix's canal system began with ancient Hohokam or Huhugam who dug out dirt by hand. Hohokam created hundreds of miles of canals that supplied irrigation for their crops in the desert of Arizona. About half of the canal system we use today has an ancient heritage.

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