Here, for illustrative purposes, is an aerial view of the Publix near where I work. It’s within walking distance, and I often like to go on leisurely strolls during my lunch break, so I walked there today to procure a sweet tea and some Pringles.
Note that one of the entrances to the parking lot is at the intersection of Datran and South Dadeland Blvd. There’s a traffic light there, which directs people that are coming out of the parking lot. This may seem a little over-explanatory, but it’s important, I assure you.
So I’ve just purchased my delicious sweet tea, and I’m partaking in its sweet nectar as I walk through the parking lot. The building where I work (not pictured) is a little further to the southwest, so I’m heading towards the aforementioned intersection.
As I’m momentarily distracted from a generous swig of sweet tea, I suddenly realize that there’s a man on a scooter behind me trying to get by.
You know those moments during your everyday social interactions where you abruptly realize that there’s something you need to do, and you need to do it quickly, but your brain temporarily freaks out and you end up momentarily frozen? Well I had one of those. My brain said, “Move your ass, so this guy can get by you,” but my body took a split-second to respond.
So I move to my left, allowing the scooter to pass me. He’s now heading toward the intersection. The light is green, so it looks like he’s just going to pass right through without stopping.
Just as he’s about to exit the parking lot, a black sedan speeds right through the red light and passes right in front of him, missing him by what couldn’t have been more than a foot. The guy in the scooter yanks on the break, yells some sort of Spanish expletive that I didn’t catch, and then continues on through the intersection completely unaware of how close he came to a terrible death.
It took me a few seconds, but I soon realized that if I hadn’t had a craving for Publix sweet tea, I wouldn’t have been in the parking lot to obstruct his journey toward the intersection, and he would have most certainly been killed by a crazy, speeding, red-light-disregarding motorist.
And what’s even nuttier is that this guy will probably live another fifty years, never knowing that I saved his life. Maybe he’ll have kids that never would have been born. Maybe he’ll save the life of someone else, who would have otherwise died. Maybe he’ll create an awesome piece of music that would never have existed.
Now for the moral of the story…
Moral #1: I have super powers.
Moral #2: The next time you’re driving and a pedestrian slows you down and you get a little frustrated that you had to slow down just to let him cross without getting hit, keep this fact in mind: life is ridiculously, terribly, and unbelievably fleeting. In less than a second you can go from living, to null. And so it stands to reason that the few seconds this pedestrian is adding to your trip may be the difference between a short life, and a less-short life.
In fact, it may have already happened. More than once.
So rather than cursing the wayward pedestrian, thank him.
Preferably with money.