"The only way to face fear is to pick up the phone and call someone that scares the shit out of you."
For those of you who have already read this story on Instagram, sorry! I wanted my blog followers to read about it too when I was ready to tell the whole story.
When it happened, I was pretty embarrassed. It's not everyday I see a client for the first time with blood, dirt, tears, and mascara running down my face. But this day was different.
A few months ago, Balboa Park was extra crowded (go figure).
For those of you who don't know what Balboa Park is, it is a gorgeous spot in the middle of San Diego preserved with flowers and pretty architecture. There are not many places in San Diego with this much green, so it is a really popular place to visit. That being said, everyone wants to take photos at Balboa, except me... because it's always really crowded.
Anyway, parking was really tough this particular day. My clients had already texted me they were having trouble finding parking, and so was I. At this point, we were all late to the shoot. But they finally found parking and texted me to let me know. So now I was like ok, I need to park right now, so I drove out of the park until I found something.
I found a spot! It was really far from our meeting location though, so I was going to have to walk way around the back of the park. Or, I could cut through the middle, which was down this big ravine and back up the other side into the parking lot.
I chose the shortcut.
I made it down the ravine, and I was climbing up the other side when the feet of people walking by met at my eye level, so I knew I was almost there. I took one more step uphill, and as I pushed off with my back foot, my head made hard contact with a tree branch above me that I hadn't noticed.
You know in the cartoons when Wile E. Coyote would fall off of a cliff, and when he hit the ground he would see birds and stars and dust all flying in circles around his head?... That's kind of what I saw after my head hit the tree.
I hit my head so hard that it stunned me, and backwards I fell, downhill until a thorn bush stopped me mid-roll.
This guy yelled down and asked if I was ok.
"Nope," I said.
He gracefully lowered himself down the hill to me and pulled me out of the thorn bush.
My immediate reaction was to call my clients so they weren't wondering where I was, so I had him call my clients. He was kind of adorable on the phone with a, "Your photographer cannot make it to the photo session. I'm sorry, but we will have to reschedule. She will call you back at another time." I mean, I should hire the guy as my secretary.
Anyway, as he hung up, I felt something running down all sides of my face, and his eyes got really wide. "Is that blood?" I said. He nodded, his eyes still wide.
Then, I did what any grown girl would do. I cried.
He pulled me uphill, because I was really mixed up. I was thinking I was concussed. I knew I looked a hot mess, and I was beyond frustrated, because I looked adorable that day in my skinny jeans and little white button-down tee, which I had to throw away later due to all the blood. Oh, and obviously, I was upset due to the shoot being canceled for the day.
When we got to the top of the hill, a lot of people were standing there watching. This family rushed over to me, and told me to come to their van, which was parked right there coincidentally. They sat me down on the tailgate, and they all started wiping the blood from my face. The mom was putting bandaids on me, and the dad was giving me water and aspirin. The son was trying to make me laugh, and the daughter was telling me she was a photographer too and that they were there that day because she was being acknowledged for an awesome photo she took that was now hanging in one of the buildings at Balboa.
The kindness was overwhelming. I don't think I really said much (which is weird for me-I talk a lot). I just said thank you a few times and tried to stop the steady flow of tears.
Here's a cell phone photo from after the cleanup:
Of course my clients happened to walk past the scene on the way back to their car!
Jessica and Scott. I was supposed to be taking their maternity photos that day.
Ugh! I was so embarrassed, but due to the raging headache and lack of equalibrium, I just basically stared at her due-any-day-now belly and mumbled, "Oh hey, sorry. I fell. We will reschedule again later on when I get cleaned up."
She didn't say it, but the look on her face was like, "OH HELL NO we ain't leaving you here like this."
So, they waited, despite my embarassment, until I was cleaned up and standing again. Then, they gave me a ride back to my car, even though they insisted driving home was a terrible idea.
Yeah, it was a terrible idea, but I made it home, and I'm still alive.
After a long night of ice packs on my head and more tears, I started thinking about what had happened that day.
Sometimes, I think we all, definitely me, get really jaded about the way people behave badly. People kill people. People steal. People cheat. People lie. But, despite all the bad things that happen, there is still so much good. The act of kindness I was privileged to that day had a significant impact on me.
Do I still get really frustrated with people? Do I still not like some people? Do I still suffer from disappointment? Duh. Yes. All the time.
There is still good though. There are times when people put others before themselves, and that is a really gorgeous and remarkable thing. Goodness is real. Kindness is real. Love is real.
What an awesome thing to be reminded of.
I do not know the names of any of the strangers that helped me that day, and they do not know mine. None of us asked each other. To me, that just makes it even more beautiful.
I wish I could find out who they were, but I probably never will. If you guys happen to read this, your family photo session is on the house.
And as for the clients, Jessica and Scott, who helped me, thank you again. You two are going to make amazing parents. There is no doubt about that.
I met the coolest family in the universe. *See above photo.
We met in North Park, and we literally just hung out for a couple of hours as if we were all old friends.
I stand by what I've always said, which is "the bigger the family, the happier the family."
We found a cool graffiti wall in North Park that was Beatles themed. Ironically enough, they all live in a yellow submarine too!
No, I'm lying. I just made that up. I don't know where they live. I know they are European though.
Everyone should bring chalk to a photo shoot, because it's cool and stuff.
UGH, they are perfect.
The photo above reminds me of The Sound of Music. I don't know why.
I cannot remember what was happening here, but I didn't get it then either. It must be like those SNL skits where everyone laughs, and I'm over here like I don't get it. I think it had something to do with soccer? Anyway...
We went to a thrift store next...because, why not?
They bought that jacket for Harriet the Spy purposes.
This photo..I'm dying. This random lady was telling us why we should buy this chest, one reason being he fit in it.
These two... They are doing it right.
Mom was alllll about keeping everyone clean. Baby wipes to the rescue.
A little more Abbey Road, Beatles action.
We ended things on a parking garage rooftop...this shot is from the elevator.
This photo captures all of their personalities spot on.
Last but not least, a little drink to end the evening.
To anyone out there whose family is half this cool: This awesomeness should be documented. Let me know when you're ready for an adventure!