Story by Terri McPherson
I am wary when I drive past a nearby high school. I live in the country, on a road where the speed limit is 80 km. There have been numerous occasions when cars have pulled out of the high school parking lot in front of me and I’ve barely had time to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting them.
Today it happened again. But this time, instead of getting the usual reaction from the offending driver – a quizzical stare from their rearview mirror, wondering why the strange lady behind them is blowing her horn – the outcome was quite different.
I had my eye on a van in the high school driveway. When I figured I was close enough that the driver would never think of pulling out in front of me, the driver did just that. Luckily, there was no oncoming traffic and I was able to swing out and go around the van instead of hitting it.
With a pounding heart and a suddenly dry mouth, I honked my horn on the way by!
I wouldn’t have liked it, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if the driver and his passenger had flipped me the finger as I buzzed on by them. I wouldn’t have liked it, but I wouldn’t been surprised if they’d caught up to me, rode my back bumper and flew right on by me, honking a retaliatory horn in return. All of these things have happened in the past.
None of them happened this time.
When I reached my destination — a local convenience store where I intended to mail a letter — the van drove in to the parking lot and pulled up beside me. As I stepped out of my vehicle, the passenger in the van rolled down his window. I noticed both occupants of the van were young men, seventeen, eighteen at most.
“Excuse me ‘mam,” the driver said, “I want to apologize for pulling out in front of you like that.”
I was taken back by his candor and the sincerity of the expression on his face.
I asked if he pulled in to the parking lot for the sole purpose of apologizing. He said he did, and went on to explain that the van was his very first vehicle. His parents had dropped it off at school for him as a surprise. The young man in the passenger seat spoke up and said he’d urged his friend to “go for it” when he was deciding whether or not to pull out on to the road in front of me. The driver spoke up once again and said he thought the van had more ‘guts’ to it when he hit the gas. Looking contrite and embarrassed, he admitted it was a stupid thing to do and apologized once more. They both apologized.
I was so impressed with these two young men that I stuck my arm through the passenger window and shook both their hands. They had the integrity to know they were in the wrong and the courage to go out of their way to admit it and make amends.
Oh! I forgot to mention that the majority of people who pull out on to that busy road at a snail’s pace and endanger lives, are not students. The bad behavior I mentioned earlier was displayed by adults.
Yes, I was impressed by those two young men today. Very, very impressed.
Living in love and loving life.