What comes to mind when you hear the word pinto? I guess it depends on how old you are, "It's a bean! It's a horse! No! It's an automobile!!!!!" That's right, a Pinto is an automobile produced by Ford in the 70's. It was a squatty, compact car with a huge triangular window in the back. But to me, a sixteen year-old looking at her first car, it was the cutest thing that I had ever seen!
What comes to mind when you hear the word pinto? I guess it depends on how old you are, “It’s a bean! It’s a horse! No! It’s an automobile!!!!!” That’s right, a Pinto is an automobile produced by Ford in the 70′s. It was a squatty, compact car with a huge triangular window in the back. But to me, a sixteen year-old looking at her first car, it was the cutest thing that I had ever seen! One cool morning in October, when I was seventeen, I was just leaving for school when my mother called out from the back of the house, “Hey, drive carefully and remember what they said on the news about those Pintoes blowing up!! Be careful.” This was true. Upon impact, (near the gas tank), Pintoes were sometimes prone to explode. “Ok, I’ll be careful.” I answered, and I was on my way. I didn’t put my seatbelt on because I was dressed up and I didn’t want to crush my skirt, but about five minutes into the ride at a traffic light, I put my seatbelt on. This was peculiar because usually if you don’t put your seatbelt on as soon as you get into the car, you don’t really think about putting it on at all. But that’s what I did and as soon as the light changed, I began driving and noticed a large van driving erratically towards me. I thought, “What’s he doing?” and in what felt like a split second, I saw his van coming right towards me. It hit my door and the impact was so forceful that the entire windshield shattered in front of me. I screamed, and immediately thought to myself, “This is what it’s going to be like to be dead!” On impact, the metal from the outside of my car door slashed through my upper thigh and then the car door came completely off. It was stuck to the front of the van. My little car spun around and around and crashed into the guardrail of a bridge above an interstate. I looked up and saw the driver of the van running toward my car. I couldn’t get up, and I think that he thought that I was dead because as soon as he saw me reach up to pull myself out, he ran back to his van and drove off. It was a hit and run. Everything seemed fuzzy, but there were witnesses who stopped to help me and called the police. I heard an officer say that if I had not had my seatbelt on I would have been killed. I could have been thrown from my car or my car could have fallen through the guardrail to the busy interstate below. I was taken away in an abulance and I remember that I was still chewing gum eventhough my mouth was full of glass, it was a miracle that I didn’t have a single scratch on my face. I heard the medics saying they couldn’t do anything about the gum or glass in my mouth because I was in shock.I could hear them talking but I could not respond. I was unable to speak, eventhough I wanted very badly to tell them how to contact my mom. It turns out that in addition to a large laceration on my left thigh, the force of my body being thrown against the seatbelt caused my pelvic bone to be broken in three places. The officer was right. If I hadn’t had my seatbelt on, I would have been killed. Thank God I put it on at that traffic light just before the accident. I was unable to stand or walk and was on complete bedrest. When my mother and grandmother went to look at the remains of my Pinto, they came home, looked at me and cried. They said that the car was completely demolished and looked as though it would be impossible for anyone to have survived. It was my senior year in high school so I had to be tutored at home. After three months, my doctors said that I had healed up well, I returned to school and was able to graduate with my class. Now, many years later, when I think of that terrible accident in my baby blue Pinto, I am reminded that God kept me safe in the face of great danger. I lived to tell the story and I’m thankful….Peace.