Do the right thing


A week or so ago I found out that standing in the eastbound lane of Tittabawassee Road, near the on ramp for the 675 Northbound Expressway in Saginaw in the middle of the day is not the best place to stand. Drivers on busy highways do not take kindly to pedestrians in their lanes. But because of the event that happened just seconds before I stood in the lane, I think my brain shutdown for a minute.

After getting ready to head back to the land of the north after an appointment in Saginaw, I decided to swing into the closest gas station to fill up on very reasonably priced fuel ($2.52, which is pretty easy on the wallet with my little Ford Focus) and get the heck out of the city.

For a person who was born and raised in Iosco County, Saginaw is “the city.” It’s busy, noisy, and although I lived there for a time, and other “busy” places, I never really ever got comfortable with the idea of having so many people around and so much craziness, not just including the traffic.

To be perfectly honest, going south of Standish is an exodus for me. I like my highways clog-free, with any vehicles near me many yards ahead or behind me. I want to have so much space around my car that I can’t tell if it’s a Corvette or a station wagon ahead of me; none of that is possible driving in Saginaw.

But the car was full of fuel and I was ready to get the heck out of there, pulling up behind a gray Chevy Silverado, with a lift gate on the back, that was pulling left out of the gas station. I was behind him enough to see his back tires. I always do that when I’m behind a car because that was the one thing I failed to do on my driver’s test when I first got my license.

“You need to be back far enough to see the car’s back tires in front of you,” I remember the instructor telling me as he graded my test in the front seat of my parents’ car I used for the test.

But the Silverado was out too far into traffic, and even though I was a reasonable distance behind him, waiting to pull out, he forgot to use his mirrors apparently and rapidly reversed into the front bumper of my car.

I could hear the bumper crunching and cracking and my hands gripped tighter at 10 and 2; my nice little car was just trashed by some guy in a big truck. So I backed up – his truck was still resting against my bumper – and got out to survey the damage. It certainly wasn’t as bad as it sounded; the bumper had huge cuts in it, the trim piece in the middle was toast, one of the headlights was noticeable loose in the socket and paint was scratched all to hell and back, but it was damaged nonetheless. 

I wasn’t shocked that it happened, I wasn’t even that mad about it, as accidents happen all the time. It would be easy to do to someone if you were driving and there were many things going on around you, but what happened next is what shocked me. The man got out of the truck, walked over to look at the damage to my car, looked at the back of his truck, then got back into his truck. I figured he was going to backup into the parking area so we could exchange information.

What I anticipated in the very back of my mind, was that he would drive off, which is what he did. He drove off like he didn’t have a care in the world, which prompted me to stand in the lane and say things into the open air – drawing the looks of the multitudes filling up on fuel – that cannot be repeated in this family newspaper.

The upshot of this is there is a police report for a man who committed a hit and run on my car, for something that was for all intents and purposes a pretty minor crash. Him leaving the scene made it into something more than a simple accident.

At the end of the day it’s just a piece of equipment. It’s just “stuff” that is broken, but for someone who is often optimistic about the human race it really put a damper on my feelings about the “good” in people. Getting into an accident can be stressful but it’s just a part of driving life, but having someone not follow the “rules” makes it all that worse.  The only thing to do is get it fixed, get back behind the steering wheel, and hope the next person will do the right thing.