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A Race Against Time
My name is Robert and my life is a race against time.
“Get to 25th street, downtown. There’s been an accident. Pretty serious. Hurry up!”, said the loudspeaker in my ambulance as I threw my half-full coffee cup in the bin and sped across the city to save a stranger’s life.
I am one of the thousands of ambulance drivers who race against time every day of their life, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, giving an almost dead stranger a new life and sometimes putting an end to someone’s life.
Shifting the gear from third to fourth, trying to gain as much speed as possible to save another man’s life, I hurry towards my destination, the red siren beaming like a lifeline in a video game so I can avoid the traffic and gain the upper-hand against death.
“Where are you? He’s lost a lot of blood”, I hear the police officer say and I shift to fifth gear.
When I get there, I see a crowd of people carrying a young boy of maybe 19 years into the ambulance. Glass sticks out of his face, as blood pours out of every wound. He is unconscious and his life hangs on a breakable thread.
I hit the accelerator with all my force as the race begins again. Taking as many shortcuts as possible, I head towards the closest hospital. Sweat drips down my face as the clock ticks away. Every second counts. With every minute that passes by, the boy comes closer to his death.
“We are losing him”, I hear the paramedics say. Frustrated and scared, I break a traffic light, risking everything to win and give the boy his life back.
I was one turn away from the hospital when the beeping of the machine stops and the paramedics say, “He’s gone. Time of death, 18:09.” I stopped outside the gate of the hospital, out of breath and heart-broken.
I put my hands to my face, absorbing what had just happened, taking slow, deep breaths to calm myself down. I almost let myself weep. Even though I was used to losing the race against time, every time someone died in my ambulance, I could not shake the feeling of guilt out of my head. What keeps me going was the hope of being able to save someone’s life. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can not win against time.
My name is Robert and I save lives.