A road rage episode with a happy ending.
On 06/30/05, my day began badly. I was at the end of my daily 3.8-mile commute to work, driving about 30 mph, when I noticed two cars queued up to enter traffic from a local gas station. Much to my surprise, the first car pulled right into traffic in front of me, forcing me to slow down. Then, to my astonishment, the second car followed right on the bumper of the first. The first car slowed immediately to about 5 mph to take a sharp right turn into a parking lot. The second car, who had been tailgating the first car in order to sneak into traffic, now had to jam on his brakes. And I, having now been cut off by TWO cars, had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting the second car. My antilock brakes kicked in with the telltale vibration sound as they pulsed on and off. I missed hitting the second car by about six inches. Cars behind me also had to break hard to avoid an accident.
So my adrenaline was pumping hard. I did not gesture to the second driver, nor did I honk my horn. I continued driving to work, and wouldn’t you know it but the second driver works in the same office complex. We parked about five cars apart in the parking lot. I got out of my car, walked over to him, and calmly told him that I missed him by inches because he pulled out right in front of me. To which he replied, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have been riding my [expletive]!” “You pulled RIGHT out in front of me,” I replied, “and I’m hoping we can each learn something from this.” “Yeah, whatever, I’m fine,” he snipped as he walked away.
All day I was infuriated. All I really wanted when I walked over to his car was for him to apologize and to learn to drive more carefully in the future.
When I returned to the parking lot that evening, his car was still there. At some point, he must have noticed that my car was still there. Perhaps he didn’t want to be on the bad side of somebody who worked in the same office complex and who knew his license plate number. Perhaps as he replayed the events of the morning, he realized that he was in the wrong. Whatever the reason, I got my unexpected apology at the end of the day – a handwritten note on my windshield – in which he 1) apologized for cutting me off and 2) apologized for acting like a jerk afterwards.
So there is hope for humankind.