Eugene Cho

i left my (leg) in san francisco

copy-of-vacation-pictures-2004-023.jpgmy family and i are visiting san francisco for a couple days this week.  the kids are enjoying ‘mid-winter break’ and minhee and i are attempting to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  i love this city.  i grew up in san francisco; we got engaged in this city; our parents still live here; and we very much enjoy visiting one of the most incredible cities in the world.

but i realized on our way down that it’s been nearly 3 years since we’ve visited san francisco.  by far, this is the longest stretch that i’ve been away from SF.  it helped that our parents have instead, flown up to visit us in Seattle but i shared with my wife that honestly, there’s a part of me that’s been reticent to visit the city.  why?

well, three summers ago, i endured through my most terrifying ‘near-death experience.’  i know that others have their stories but believe me on this one:  i thought it was over.  as i rolled around on the concrete streets in one of the busier intersections, my last visual memory was seeing minhee and the three kids screaming and crying.

the crazy story:

  • after visiting twin peaks in SF, we’re at a red light and proceed on our green light into a busy intersection.
  • a honda civic on our right begin to slowly (while picking up speed) enters into the intersection and heads toward our car.
  • we can’t back up as cars are behind us.  we honk our horn and i probably say a few choice words.  the civic’s side scrapes the front of our car but continues to go into the intersection and heads towards opposite traffic.
  • as the civic goes by, we notice the female driver’s head and neck flailing.  it’s a scary image.  minhee screams.  i scream louder.  we both scream.  we realize she’s having a seizure.
  • minhee screams, “help her!” (i was intending to help.  honestly, i was…)
  • i get out of car and begin to run after her car as it’s picking up speed.
  • i catch up and grab her door handle and ‘luckily’ the door is open.  i open the door.  if i could do this all over again, i would have gone for the hand brake but in the moment, i chose to dive into the car and with my hands, i go for the foot brake.  i slam the brakes with my hand (as 1/2 my body is sticking out of the civic) and stop the car!  for a split second, i’m honestly feeling pretty proud of myself.  i’m a pseudo hero.
  • the dream turns into a nightmare.  the young lady (according to doctors later) wakes up from her seizure or has another episode and her whole body stiffens up and as a result, one of legs slams on the accelerator.
  • i’m hanging on to the brake pedal as we’re going from 0-60.  at some point, i can no longer hang on.  as i let go, one of the rear tires of the civic run over my left leg and over my left ankle.
  • fortunately for this gal, she goes through traffic without hitting any other cars or pedestrians.  she’s stopped as she runs smack middle into a tree.

i honestly thought i had died at this point.  all of the above probably happened within 10 seconds.  firetrucks, police, and ambulances all came to the scene.  after i realized i was still alive, the pain in my left leg/ankle was pretty excruciating but after being taken to the emergency room, the doctors were all pretty amazed that nothing was broken.  the young lady, amazingly, walked away from this with one bruise on her left shoulder.  i later found out (at the hospital since we were taken to the same place) that she was six months pregnant.  i occasionally still hear from her family.

this near death accident forced minhee and i to really re-examine our lives – our marriage, our children, our values, our goals, our faith, and our purpose in life.  i guess near death incidents have the tendency to do that.  as we’ve driven around san francisco the past couple days, we’ve taken some time to reflect on the incident.  even in the midst of some fear i still harbor, we realize god’s favor, protection, and blessings over our lives.

when the medics came to the scene, they pretty much ripped through my pants to see the damage on my leg and ankle.  it was pretty embarrassing (and cold) to be in the middle of the intersection in my underwear.  they later covered me up but i managed to find this picture of my pants from that day…  be safe everyone!

Filed under: family

17 Responses

  1. Reyes-Chow says:

    no THAT is a Sf story. welcome back to SF, the best city in the world! where in teh city did you grow up, go to church, etc. do tell!

  2. Blake says:

    Dang. Scary. You’re my hero for stopping that car! Good quick thinking!

  3. nicktimoshuk says:

    it’s amazing that even though you got ran over and the woman still crashed into a tree, which are two very scary things, the spirit of god was present, ushered in by the selflessness of a heroic act.

  4. Wayne Park says:

    my goodness. I had no idea…

  5. elderj says:

    Wow your adventures are much more interesting than my pastor’s. You’re like an action hero star. I need to tell my pastor to get on it! MORE excitement!

  6. e cho says:

    crazy thing is the young lady’s insurance company wanted to sue me for choosing to involve myself in this incident. it definitely put a bad taste in my mouth. they chose not to and chose to cover my medical bills + some funds to compensate for my pain.

  7. e cho says:

    bruce: we immigrated in 1977. lived in an apt. on pine street in the downtown area; then sutter street. eventually moved to ocean ave. by city college. i was just there this week and was amazed how much the location has changed. went to aptos middle (probably 50% african-american) and lowell high school (70% asian). didn’t really go to church regularly; when i did, it was at my parents – korean united methodist church (they moved from chinatown to the sunset district).

  8. gar says:

    That’s a crazy story… I’m sure your family will never forget that one.

  9. Tracy says:

    I would like to hear this story in one of your sermons…

    Glad to hear you didn’t have the same experience this time around.

  10. m@ says:

    Your ‘charismatic’ hands have the ability to stop traffic, Eugene. 😉

  11. jc says:

    that is the craziest sf story i have ever heard before.
    and dang, those pants are eerie.

  12. […] stuff up to make themselves feel better.   After one ruptured achilles, one knee surgery, and being run over by car and nearly dying, I’ve only got stories […]

  13. […] them crying for Dad.  Several years ago, after my ruptured achilles, surgery and recovery…I got run over by car. True story.  This was when I was attempting to save a young woman’s life…and well, it […]

  14. Frank Kim says:

    that’s the craziest story!

  15. […] tried to be a real hero. In trying to save a woman who was having a seizure while she was driving, I got run over by a car. Left leg. Left ankle. Fire trucks. Ambulances. Death before my […]

  16. Anthony Eusebio says:

    Thanks God! In a split of a few seconds your 1st priority was to save the driver’s life without 2nd thought that you’re risking yours. God is always with you & your family Brotha:) In the middle of the story I thought that you’ll be reading Bible in the hospital bed with plasters on your legs & hip for the next few months. But praise God! for He’d placed His palm under the rear tyres when it ran over your leg that day.
    Now I’d totally understand why my wife always reminded me to wear clean socks & especially my underpants – you’ll never know when will medics or doctors gonna cut out or take off your trousers.
    Hat-off for your bravery Brotha, your kids should be very proud of you & I’m sure this heroic story will carry on to your grandchildren.
    All the glory be to our Father God^^

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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