SEI Connections Pipers Story

by | Mar 26, 2024 | POINT OF VIEW

Looking for all the Helpers

By Piper Jones, SEP, LMT, ORDM, DARe

One beautiful Oregon summer afternoon, I had just returned from my office and was checking
in on my husband who had recently had shoulder surgery.

As we sat on the couch, we both heard a very loud crash out front. My husband (who had been
in numerous car accidents) said that it sounded like a car crash, and without even hesitating, I
flew out the front door and took in the scene.

At the intersection was a black muscle car halfway through the intersection, and attached to it
was a smaller silver car. Neighbors were beginning to head towards the silver car, but from the
corner of my eyes, I saw a young black man running away from the scene. My first thoughts
were, this can’t be good.

Without thinking, I began running down the sidewalk, hoping to catch up to him. For many
years, I had been running 5 to 6 miles every day, so I felt pretty sure I could catch up with him.
Picture this, a middle age white woman in a flowery summer dress running at top speed
towards him as he ran from the scene of the accident. I heard myself calling out “hey! If you’re
going to run, don’t run alone! Let me run with you!” (It was as though I was channeling my
Somatic Experiencing and DARe teachers that I have studied with for years.)

He slowed down and turned to look at me approaching him. “Don’t run alone, let me run with
you”, I repeated. I could see him shaking, his eyes full of shock trauma, as I caught up with

“Hey, I’m here for you. Can we just walk together?” He nodded his head, staring at me with
wide eyes. I saw he was holding a phone and I could hear someone’s voice calling his name,
“Nigel?!” Nigel handed me the phone. It was his foster mom and she was so worried about
him! I told her that I was a trauma therapist, that I would not leave him, that I was right here
now with him. I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder as we walked and he leaned in
to me.

As we walked, and he heard his foster mom’s voice, his eyes locked on me, his breath began
to come a little slower and his shaking began to soften. “Let’s walk back together towards
your car. I’m right here with you. I’m not going anywhere. The police will be coming in a bit and
I will be right here with you. Nigel, your mom is here, too, on the phone. You do not have to
hold this by yourself. You are not alone with this”.

We sat down on the curb near the accident, and I asked my next door neighbors to please
bring Nigel a glass of water. He pressed his shoulder into me, sobbing, and I continued to hold

In a bit, I let him know that the police had just arrived and that I was not leaving him at all. The
cop was very caring and kind as he took his time getting Nigel’s statement. I said to Nigel,
“Wow, look how many people are here to support you! There is so much support for you right
now. And there is so much support for the woman in the other car. She’s alright, too! She’s not
hurt!” And just then, the woman’s mother came over to check that Nigel was ok. I noted this
out loud to him. “Nigel, the woman in the other car is safe. Her mother is not angry with you,
she is here making sure that you are safe, too”.

As the police officer asked Nigel to move his car out of the intersection, we joked about how
his deflated airbag looked like a used condom. I asked him if he had a friend he could call to
come pick him up, and that he was welcome to wait with me in my house right here until his
buddy came. He opened up his phone and called his best friend, John, and handed the phone
to me to talk to him. Talk about serendipity! I knew John and was very good friends with his
mom. I knew then, that Nigel was in really supportive hands.

As we waited for the tow truck and John, I looked directly at him and said “Nigel, maybe there
have been times in the past where there wasn’t support for you, but I’m just noting that THIS
time, there are so many layers of support showing up for you! Your mom, the neighbors with
the cool glass of water, the kind officer, the mom of the woman in the other car, me, and John.”
I’m wondering if you might be able to notice that it’s not the same as it might have been in the
past. That now, many people are showing up for you in your life.”

The next afternoon, I was sitting in my backyard (in a place I call the South of France) with my
girlfriends. To my great surprise and delight, Nigel appeared with a lovely bouquet of flowers
for me. He sat for a bit and let us know he was better now. I could see it in his eyes and easy

I am so very grateful for all of ways I have learned how to be with situations like this, how to
make the implicit explicit, how to orient to the present, how to wait and allow completion of
biological response with SUPPORT. The DARe and Somatic Experiencing curriculum have
helped me to be a more informed and caring helper in the world.
As Mr Rogers says “Look for all the helpers”. That’s who we become, I believe.
(I learned later that Nigel was well taken care of by John’s fraternity.