When I was in high school, one of my teachers asked each of us to tell the class what we were afraid of. Actually, since she was an English teacher she probably asked us to tell of what we were afraid, but, whatever. As we went around the room, there were the expected answers of snakes, spiders, drowning, the dark, etc. At 16 years old, I had to think about it for a while and since none of that stuff scared me (I was, after all, 10 feet tall and bullet proof) I finally answered truthfully that really the only thing that scared me was accidentally running over a person, especially a child, while I was driving.
Now that I'm older (and about 5 feet tall and barely waterproof) I have a few more fears than I did as a kid but truthfully, that fear still haunts me. I think about it often as I drive, especially through residential areas, going slow and watching closely. It has paid off many times as I have seen the ball go rolling into the street and I'm aware enough to expect some little crumb-cruncher to come running after it. I've never even come close to my worst fear. Until today.
I wasn't in a hurry but I was pulling through the gas pumps at the local QT just a hair too fast. I was maybe doing 5 mph when I probably should have been doing 3. Not exactly Indy 500 stuff here but just almost too fast to see the little 2 year old run around the pump and stop literally inches from my front bumper, close enough she put her hand on my grill and then ran off again, continuing across the lanes of pumps until a lady grabbed her and hollered at her mom who was pumping gas three lanes over unaware that her daughter nearly had a really bad day.
I just sat there for a minute or two and composed myself. I wanted to say something to the mom but she had already thrown the kid into the backseat and taken off by the time I got around to getting out.
She will never know.
And hopefully I won't either.