A tragic story in today's Houston Chronicle has an unfortunate ad juxtoposition:
The ad's animated, showing an SUV stopping safely and avoiding a child's ball bouncing into the road. "You always stop," it begins. "You always drive safely. You deserve a reward."
I was freaked out this past summer at the end of my son's baseball game. We're in the SUV backing out. I see this dad from the other team, looking a little bleary (from the sun, of course), so I slow down the speed I'm pulling back.
He keeps coming.
I slow to inching.
He's nearly between me and a brick wall now.
I hit the brakes well and good for effect. Before I can get the window down to bellow at him from my air conditioned comfort... a little child of maybe 3 or 4 tops pops out from behind the space I've left ... a step or two ahead of idiot dad who's sheparding them ahead of him.
I told him in as polite a term I can find in front of children what I thought of his judgement.
He whacked my 1 month old SUV with his lawn chair to show his disagreement with my judgement on his lack of concern for an accident that would have made me pay for the rest of my life - and forget that it would be the insurance that would take care of the financial damage.
My problem? I moved up from a Camry that I could see everything from to a Highlander that I only thought I could.
My problem from his perspective? As he states "You were crawling".
Don't ever, ever, ever trust another human being to keep you from squishing a child with your car. Not even their brain dead, over refreshed parents.
I was driving through the neighborhood the other day when a five-year-old ran into my path to see somebody across the street.
Luckily, I putter at a slow speed near my house and wasn't distractedly changing the CD or anything similar.
Even so, the relatively close call spooked the hell out of me.
Exactly! Just today coming home through the neighbourhood - this time driving the little Corolla. I watch as this football sails high over a kid's outstretched hands as he balances on the curb. I'm well slow enough not to worry. He dashes out and is halfway across my side of the road and then he turns to look. Couldn't have been more than 10 years old.
I waved him over to go get his ball (I don't have the ground clearance for a squirrel in that car).
I wonder how I didn't die under the wheels of a car growing up, or, throw the ball to someone who did.
People drive like maniacs down here in Argentina. I'm amazed that more kids, not to mention adults, aren't run over in the streets. When you cross them as a pedestrian, you not only look both ways, but you have to look behind yourself as well, because of the drivers who make turns (including left-hand) on red lights at break-neck speeds. Buses and taxis roar down the streets at 90 kph, so I think everyone gets street savvy at an early age.
During lunch today I watched a street urchin who couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 begging change from motorists who were stopped at the bottom of a rather steep hill. He nonchalantly darted between the cars, with not much reward for his efforts. I said a silent prayer on his behalf, and made sure to put more than just small change in his cup when I left.