I save turtles.
The first time I pulled up on a turtle crossing the road, I thought that someone’s pet had escaped its pen. But that was during my first week living in Florida, and I had yet to realize that turtles are to the roads of the sweltering south what deer are to the of the highways of the wild west: roadkill.
Have you ever seen a turtle that’s been run over? It’s as disgusting as you’d imagine. And twice as sad. Jumping out of the car to prevent turtle pancakes just feels like the right thing to do.
I heard a story about an old man who tossed starfish back into the ocean in the morning so the starfish wouldn’t die from exposure once the sun came up. Some teenager (or business man?) (or news reporter?) scoffed at the old man’s efforts and commented, “There are miles and miles of beaches, with starfish all along the way! You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The old man replied, tossing another starfish into the ocean, “Made a difference to that one.”
Uh, STARFISH DON’T CARE!
And neither do turtles. In fact, the turtles seem more annoyed than appreciative, which, in turn, annoys me. The turtles flail their reptilian limbs. The bold ones try to bite. Some will even hiss.
I can’t help it though—I see a turtle in the road and instinctively turn on my hazards. The amount of traffic is no concern. The other cars can honk all they want. I’m saving a turtle.
To the dozen or so turtles I’ve saved out there: it might not have mattered to you, but it mattered to me. I know that sometimes you’ve just got to do what feels right, regardless of whether other people, turtles, or starfish give a hoot.