Tuesday, November 4, 2014
So coming out of the tunnel K was driving beside but behind an eighteen wheeler with an out of state (out of area) license plate. And somehow she was in his blind spot and he saw the sign he needed and the exit sneaking right up and he slid over into her lane and into her van - and crash.
And it wasn't so bad - given the fast flow of traffic, the confusion, the hills and the bends and the rush - it's a miracle no one was hurt. So here's the heart of the story:
K stayed in her car, but the truck driver got out and boy was he mad. He was red; he was yelling, cursing and coming at her. She had kids in her car. Everyone was okay, but she was shaken from the bump - even though it wasn't huge - still.
So she rolled her window down and while he was yelling about where she came from and where she should go - she said "Are you okay?" and then "Are you hurt?" And he sort of stopped his tirade for a second. And then she smiled at him and said "Really, are you alright?" And then he paused again and said, "Yeah, yeah, I think so." And then, "Are you?" And then he looked in the van. And he said, "The kids okay?" And she said, "Yes, a little shaky, but okay."
"I didn't see you," He said. "I'm not from around here. It's so confusing."
"I know," She said. "It's difficult, even for locals."
By the time the cops came, they were friends.
And you know, it happens, that some of us are quick to anger -especially given the circumstances, the frustration, we all have our moments. (And yes, when those moments are the norm, and they effect those around us, we should probably tend to it).
It's a tall order to respond the way K did, especially in the moment. But that's K. She has slowed herself down over the years, and somehow sensed that there was a frustrated person inside, who could use a little help, even though he was not sounding so good. She saw he needed help calming down, and she had the presence of mind and the words to do it.
I also know that when we are dealing with our own built up resentment or frustration or hurt, its hard to pause, to be curious, to help someone calm down and to find the person inside, behind the yelling, or the ignoring or the withdrawing. But it is amazing what the right words can do. That's all. Just saying.