Yesterday, at approximately 11:30am a Nissan Altima drove through my business, Digital Lightbridge. Amazingly and thankfully no one was seriously injured. An elderly gentlemen passed-out and hit his accelerator, sped across six lanes of traffic including a grass median into the left front window of our office. With the accelerator floored he crashed through the wall hit the couch when through another wall then hit my controller, Robin as she was working at her desk. She was directly in the path of the front bumper of the car. She was seated and cradled by the couch. It pushed her 6 to 7 feet out of the path of the car, breaking the wheels off her chair. A multitude of broken glass, shattered furniture and sharp building debris surrounded her and unbelievably, she was safely positioned inside the wreckage.
I was a few feet away in our conference room have a sales strategy meeting with my president, Ron Altman. We heard the incredible sounds and I couldn’t imagine what could have made the explosive noises. I opened the door to see Robin terrified and seemingly impaled by the debris. The car’s accelerator was still floored and the front tires were coming off their rims. The office instantly filled with thick, toxic smoke. I grabbed Robin’s trembling hand and helped her to her feet and Ron and I got her out through the jagged hole in the building. We then ran back inside to see who was in the car. We couldn’t see so we felt around and screamed and banged on the windows. We thought the car was about to explode. I open the rear passenger door feeling around for people. I grabbed a large cloth object that I feared was a baby, but it was a large book bag filled with groceries. I then moved through the debris and managed to open the front passenger door. I was yelling and feeling through the air near the head rests for people. Through the dense, yellow, blinding smoke I saw a hand with blood on it. Finally, the engine and hellish noises stopped. The driver was facing the seats. I scooped him into my arms and carried him toward Ron and we again walked out through the hole. We got him into the shade and went back in to make certain everyone was out.
The Pasco County Fire Department, Police and Florida Highway Patrol (and my courageous wife and her best friend Michelle Meek) showed up very quickly. They were all amazing and very professional. Thankfully, they didn’t use water to put out the fire caused by the tires coming off their rims and burning the carpet and couch. They immediately ventilated the office with fans put out the fire and worked with the County building inspector and electric company. After power was restored, the firefighters let us get personal items and begin to assess the interior damage. Another blessing was my State Farm Insurance agent Mike Peters arrived on the scene within the first few minutes and began to provide counsel. We immediate made the decision to employ Anclote Construction to secure the building. In addition to the hole in the front wall the North side of the building moved about three feet off it’s foundation and the ceiling dropped an inch. My office staff, my beloved pastor Mike Hughes, Chris Stafstrom (Robin’s husband), Jeff Salliotte, Kim Johnson, John Faulkner Sr & Jr., a few beautiful, close friends and Anclote Construction, within a few hours cleared all of the debris into construction dumpsters and completely framed up new, temporary walls. All of our computers, electronic devices (iPad:) and massive hard drives are perfectly operable. We took a moment as a group, in the midst of the disaster, held hands and thanked God for protecting all of us, especially Robin. I prayed that the driver (Alex) would recover from his bump on the head and that God’s business, Digital Lightbridge would be better because of the “accident”. I can already sense that God is going to allow the staff, through it’s culture and values, to serve our clients better and create more value for them.
Today, was my fifth chemotherapy/injection/radiation session. Cancer seemed very insignificant yesterday and today. A long-time friend of mine, Jody Simon gave me a book a many years ago called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, It’s All Small Stuff. The concept of the book is right. In the light of eternity, it’s all small stuff. Only relationships matter. They matter to me, more importantly they really matter to God. Our relationship to Jesus is really the only thing that matters. The most important thing about you, is what God thinks about you and what you think about Him. Some people are beginning to call me Job. God loved Job and restored and blessed him (he lived 140 years). I take comfort in really, really knowing that God is in control of everything. Daily things appear out of control, out of my control and my finite understanding and reason. The beginning of real wisdom comes from “fear”, respect and submission to the Lord. I am still learning from this journey.
Thank you prayer warriors who lift me and my family up daily. Your love and petitioning to God give me endurance to fight cancer. Thank you to everyone who jumped in and rebuilt Digital Lightbridge yesterday. Tomorrow, the weekly Bible study is on and the entire office is going to our favorite restaurant for a celebration lunch at Zen Forrest. Within three weeks, the front office and marketing showroom will be reconstructed better than before. I can’t wait for the grand reopening party.
Press on friends, Love, Rich
You can see a few pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2064837&id=1263506962
Sent from my iPad