The Polite Pedestrian

(Warning – heavy sarcasm here – saddle up folks!)

I have been noodling this one for a little while now, but for some reason today I feel the need to cleanse myself of these thoughts – I am going to blame this little bit of “therapy” on the stupid time change thing that for some dumb reason we are forced to do twice a year (perhaps that will be the subject of another sarcastic rant in the future). So here we go…

If you live in the City, then you can just stop reading right now. City rules are very, very different than suburban rules when it comes to pedestrians in ANY location. You hear about road rage incidents on a regular basis, but I have to wonder what it would be like if someone kept count, maybe on an app or something, on how many pedestrian vs motor vehicle-induced middle fingers or f-bombs happened EVERY day. Good Lord I cannot imagine what that would be like. Something tells me that keeping track of that would actually incent MORE of that behavior, so strike that from the record.

Again, I digress, so let’s get into it…

Here’s the deal – if you are walking anywhere in any suburban parking lot and any car stops for you for any reason, my personal suggestion, to minimize the likelihood of your untimely death in an “accident”, please, pretty please, just acknowledge the driver that elected not to mow you down. Here are a few very simple suggestions on how to do that:

  • Wave (any version of a wave is great)
  • Look and smile
  • Peace sign
  • Virtual fist bump
  • Fist to chest a couple times like your favorite sports person
  • Even a simple head nod will do

Pretty simple stuff really.

You are not required to drop everything, including your children, and run to the car and hug the person, spot them a fiver or gift card, or even drop to your knees in gratitude. Sure, that would be amazing, and quite the “pay it forward” approach, but probably not best in the parking lot scenario.

OK – the obvious response from most people is this: “They had to stop, so why should I thank them!?” Well Mr/Mrs Entitled, that isn’t exactly true. Sure, if they hit you, they would get in trouble in one or many forms (ticket, lawsuit, car damage if you are a big dude like me, public shaming, jail time), so yes, it is probably in their best interest not to hit you. However, that is still their decision, NOT yours. You have no idea what kind of day/week/month/year they are having. It doesn’t really matter what the law says, and unless you happen to be carrying a loaded weapon and have a free hand, I can pretty much promise you will lose that battle.

So since they decided to not hit you and not make it a really bad day for everybody, how about the simple act of a wave or a happy acknowledgement that you get to live another day with both legs?  Is it really that hard!?

Yes, Mr/Mrs Entitled, I get it, it is illegal for them to hit you. But get over it already, it’s still their decision, NOT yours. Would burning those 1-5 calories to acknowledge that both parties would prefer you walk comfortably for the rest of the day really put you out that much!?

Look at it this way, regardless of the day they are having, they decided that it was better to not hit you and spend an extra 15-30 seconds watching you walk past. They either decided that hitting you just wasn’t worth the paperwork OR maybe they are just nice people. That’s just it – YOU DON’T KNOW! For all you know, maybe they did really consider mowing you down and driving away! But they didn’t AND your friendly wave may have just saved the next pedestrian they encounter. So look at it that way, you are “paying it forward” to the next pedestrian.

(turning the sarcasm switch to the “off” position…)

Have a great day – AND WAVE!!!

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