Good Samaritan James

A Publisher’s Reflection

James Cullum approaching the air-bag filled window of an accident on 495. (Photo: Mary Wadland)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – It was rush hour in D.C. and my Managing Editor, James Cullum, and I had been in the car well over an hour in stop and go traffic on a trip back from a business meeting in Leesburg, Virginia. Reviewing deadlines and schedules and pondering new projects, we were adrift in conversation when traffic slowed yet again.

James yelled, “Stop the car! That guy might need help!”

Turned out we were among the first cars approaching an accident that had happened moments before, and a car was facing us in the middle of the highway with smoke billowing from its exposed engine, while anti-freeze dripped freely from the crushed radiator.

James Cullum opens door and helps shaken driver moments after crash. (Photo: Mary Wadland)

I pulled onto the shoulder, and James jumped out, as I snapped a few pictures without his awareness. My anxious concern was quickly replaced with calm as I saw James escort the driver over to the side of the road. The man appeared stable, and so did the other motorist we saw up in the shoulder several hundred yards away.

Driver appears ok and calls 911 while Cullum stops traffic for crossing. (Photo: Mary Wadland)

After stopping traffic more than once on 495 and not knowing what he would have encountered at the scene, James returned to the car without fanfare, casually raising his arm in a reassuring wave to the man now chatting with 911, accompanied by another passerby.

James Cullum gives a thumbs up to a few passersby who had gathered on the side of the road. (Photo: Mary Wadland)

Our conversation resumed as we eased back into traffic, and I settled into the last bit of our journey pretty doggone satisfied Zebra has a level-headed man with a heart sitting confidently at our Managing Editor’s desk.