Saturday, October 31, 2009


By Diana L. Chapman

Coming around the corner of the southern tip of Point Fermin park listening to a symphony, I rounded a bend and smiled happily at two young women as I absorbed the stunning autumn day.

With musical buds deep in my ears and catching glimpses of wild dolphins playing in white caps, it took me a few seconds to realize the women were trying to talk to me.

Pulling my ear buds out, one repeated what she asked: “Did you see that? Did you see that bicyclist get hit by the car? It was awful.”

Of course, I couldn’t see a thing, partly because I was confused – as a bicyclist was whizzing by me. I assumed they were talking about that bike rider. When they explained they were talking about another rider, minutes had passed. I asked: “Where is he now? The rider? Was he hurt?”

“I don’t know, but it was awful,” the young woman said, adding that his bike seat had broken off. “This guy hit him and got out of a car and then got back in and left. The bike rider was yelling: ‘What are you doing? Where are you going?

“That could have happened to anyone,” she continued. “It wasn’t right. It’s just not right.”

I could find no signs of the biker. It was about 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, but the older woman – all of about 20 years-old and probably younger – said the bicyclist was wearing a powder blue T-shirt and khaki colored pants. The driver also was a man in a small, white car. That was all they could recall specifically as they were still somewhat dazed.

Having them look for someone to help appealed to my senses. Both were concerned while they were exercising (they had no cell phones to call anyone) so they talked to me. I just happened to be there. One of the woman gave me a way to get touch with her in case I found the biker, who might need witnesses.

After hearing what happened in the gang rape in Northern California’s Richmond High School – where ten others watched for more than two hours and did nothing -- I found these young women refreshing – especially that they cared enough to try to find someone to tell. They were both born and raised here.

It also gave me the chance to put this out on the internet to tell the bicyclist that, hey, someone who saw what happened – unlike the imbecile driver -- actually did care.

It also restored my faith—especially after the gang rape -- that there are many kids and young adults who do want to do what’s right. When I watched a televised media cast of students facing off with school board members, several of the high school girls – who were friends of the victim – told the board they had asked for at least thirteen security guards for the dance.

The students said they knew trouble was brewing and they weren’t safe.

“You laughed at us,” one of the students told the board.

No one is laughing now. Truly that’s the sign: We older adults need to take our ear buds out and listen to our youth and young adults. After all, they are the ones living in the trenches and know more than we’ll ever know what’s truly going on.

If anyone knows the bicyclist, please email me at And pass this story on.