Breast cancer surgeon Catherine Baucom is six feet tall, but she rolled up to work last Wednesday on a little girl’s pink bicycle. Baucom had been stuck in nightmarish traffic after a serious accident that shut down the interstate, but she knew her patient was waiting at the surgery center. So she hopped off the highway, drove to a friend’s house, and commandeered his 8-year-old daughter’s bike.
Baucom was on her way to the BRASS Surgery Center in Baton Rouge, La., when a cinematically huge chain of accidents — involving two 18-wheelers, a mail truck, a tanker truck, rolls of sheet metal, and isobutane vapor — shut down the highway. After sitting in traffic for an hour and a half, Baucom was worried that she’d have to keep her patient waiting for a procedure that’s already stressful enough as it is. So she made a detour to the nearby house of her colleague Brian Barnett, who furnished her with alternate transportation: his daughter’s bright pink Schwinn. Also, a Disney princess helmet. (He says it was all he could find, but I kind of suspect he just wanted to complete the look.)
Even with her knees knocking her chest, Baucom traveled faster than the stopped cars on the highway. She pedaled madly all the way to a police checkpoint, where the officers escorted her to the surgery center.
Clearly, Barnett’s daughter bears Baucom no hard feelings for borrowing her ride, because she’s made the doctor a gift of the princess helmet. Though a Wonder Woman one might have been more apropos.
Get Grist in your inbox