Last Monday, Nov. 16, at approximately 6 p.m. I was driving in the dark and rainy misery that is the intersection of Highway 20 and 53rd Street in Corvallis. Everyone I think at this point is on the same page that this is the worst time of the day at the worst time of the year, and the one common expression we all have on our faces in traffic as we attempt to get home is the face of contemplation, as we all fantasize about ending it all, or getting drunk.
I looked at the other faces, and a few people even nodded back, and we briefly shared our misery.
Then I noticed I had been sitting at that light for a weirdly long time and I had already missed one cycle of the light changes. “Why aren’t we moving?” I thought to myself and then leaned on the horn. The SUV in front of me was not moving and it looked like the only car in between the traffic light and mine. I leaned on the horn again.
That’s when the light turned red again and I almost lost my sh*t.
And that’s when two people in a car that had broken down pushed it out from its obscured position in front of the SUV. I instantly felt a little bad for getting so heated over missing a light and hitting my horn.
I thought to myself, “I should pull over and help them out.” They might need a ride to a gas station or something. I should pull over and help.
Mind you, I didn’t feel that bad though, because I couldn’t see them in front of the SUV when I had honked. From my vantage point it just looked like the driver was texting or something and snoozed through a couple light changes.
“I should pull over and help.” I thought it again as I went through the light. They pushed their disabled vehicle into the empty lot where the weirdo with the fish bus parks. Maybe they won’t even need my help, but it couldn’t hurt to stop and offer it.
The rain was really coming down at this point. I had just stopped at Safeway after work to pick up things for a dinner party I was attending. I still had to go home and prepare, plus I had just finished a real corker of a day at work.
“I should pull over and help,” I thought to myself one last time as I drove right past the lot and kept going, leaving them to their fate.
So for this Thanksgiving I wanted to offer an apology to them, if there’s any chance they’re reading this. To the two people who had a breakdown at the light on 20 and 53rd Street Monday evening,
Nov. 16, I’m sorry for honking. That was a completely honest mistake. But I’m more sorry for not pulling over and lending a hand. I really could have, and it might have helped. I’m sorry. My Thanksgiving resolution (it’s a thing, I just invented it) is to pull over and lend a hand next time.
Helping people out a little bit when it’s inconvenient and you don’t know them. It’s the hardest truth.
By Sidney Reilly