I got a job processing property claims at a company in Orange County. At the time, I lived in North Hollywood and my unemployment checks had run out. The economy was in a recession and my parents in Boca Raton, Florida sending me checks each month.
“Find a job – a good job – so we can brag about you to our friends. You’re disappointing us right now Hannah.” My Jewish parents had money and were harsh. I was the failure in the family. My sister had made partner at a New York law firm at 31 years old. Every Hanukkah it was discussed.
The drive to my new job, with traffic, was an hour and a half long and the job started at 7 AM. It was hard to stay awake for the commute. I took No-Doz, guzzled Red Bull and sucked Starbucks coffee. Black. No cream. To get to the office I had to drive through a residential area for the last leg of the commute. One day I fell asleep at the wheel and then heard a thunk. I braked and looked around in panic. I got out. My front bumper was half off and covered in blood. I walked to the back of the car and there was a kid, no more than twelve, lying still and gushing blood on the road. I looked around. There were no other cars on the street and the houses looked dark and still. The child was a boy. Black. That’s what I noticed first. He was a black kid and that’s when I made my decision. I was going to call in late to work, wash my car at a car wash, go to work, and then junk my car later. I would drive a rental and figure out how to get a new car. That was my decision. He was a black boy. Maybe a future gang member. Maybe a future drug dealer and murderer. Maybe I was doing society a favor. I got in my car and drove off. In the long run, it was a good thing right? Saving society from a menace. Yes. My parents could be proud of me.