A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Dizzy space

There are few things that really rile me, but one thing that does is the inappropriate use of disabled parking spaces. I got home from the cinema on Friday evening to find an unattended taxi parked in my disabled space outside my house. It wouldn't have bothered me if it were being used by someone with a disability, or if the taxi were dropping off a disabled person, but because it was just parked there (and I've yet to come across a disabled taxi driver), it rattled my cage. I found somewhere else to park, came inside and wrote a note to the driver, which I then left under his windscreen wiper. I can't remember exactly what I said in the letter, but it was something along the lines of him (I presumed it was a him) being inconsiderate to the needs of disabled people, and that he should be thankful that he is privaledged enough to have the ability to walk reliably. I suggested that he make the most of this ability to walk as not all are as fortunate as him, and that in the future he more fully consider those who aren't as privaledged as he is. I requested that he move his vehicle, and also pointed out that if actually he is in need of a disabled parking space then he can contact the council and they will be able to help. I then signed off with my name and house number, though didn't expect to hear anything back.

I had a knock on the door this afternoon from my neighbour two doors down. It seems that he is now a taxi driver and Friday night's offender. He was so genuinely apologetic for parking in my dizzy space, and so humble about it, that I almost found myself feeling guilty for being so curt in my letter. I haven't actually succombed to the guilt, and have reminded myself that he was still in the wrong, but his knocking on my door and apologising has restored my faith in people again. It's so refreshing to have someone actually admit their guilt and apologise for it, when so much of the time attitudes seem to be that anyone can do anything they like, however arrogant or ignorant, and not have to be accountable to anyone.

As I say, abuse of dizzy parking spaces is something that riles me, but the humility of my neighbour has reminded me of the good nature of most people, even when they do something they shouldn't. He didn't have to knock on my door, and he didn't then have to apologise. He could easily have bombarded me with excuse after excuse if he'd wanted to defend himself, but he didn't. Instead he was gracious, acknowledged his wrongdoing and said, 'I was so embarrassed. I'm sorry. I won't do it again.' I applaud him for his humility, and I thanked him with a smile when he left.

I wonder, and leave you with this question, how you would've responded to my letter. Would you have been as gracious and humble as my neighbour? Would you have tried to defend yourself with excuses? Would you have knocked on my door to apologise? Would I? I honestly don't know ... I may have been too embarrassed to have felt able to face the person I knew to be in the right. I may have felt resentful that my wrongdoing was so firmly pointed out to me. I like to think that I would have been as gracious as my neighbour, but I cannot say with certainty that I would. What about you?

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