I almost committed vehicular manslaughter today — and if I had, it wouldn’t have been my fault.
Let’s back up for a moment, shall we? Okay…so When I got out of bed this morning, I honestly thought today would be somewhat busy but generally uneventful, if you catch my meaning. I had to get my car inspected, and I thought the worst thing about the experience would be the probably-long line of expectant vehicles (because, after all, it is the end of the month). I settled Joshua into his car seat and explained where we were going and why, and we hit the road. Between the time we arrived at the inspection station and the time we left, I experienced the full range of good, bad, and “ehh” moments.
The Good: The line of cars waiting to be inspected was mercifully much shorter than I’d expected. There were five lanes open and only two cars in front of me!
The Bad: The Hubby and I renewed our registrations and he placed the cards in our glove boxes when they came in the mail. So why is this bad? Because Hubs accidentally switched the cards and put his card in my car…which presented a bit of a problem when the inspector handed back my paperwork and said I had a registration card for a car I wasn’t driving. He said he’d do the inspection anyway, but that Hubs and I needed to switch cards as soon as possible for obvious reasons. Oops! (And for the record, I drove straight to The Hubby’s office after the inspection and we switched cards. Problem solved!)
The “Ehh”: Apparently, the rules have changed since the last time I got my car inspected. Whereas you used to park your car, turn it off, and wait in a shoebox of a driver holding area, now you stay in the car (or at least you do in New Jersey). I was asked to move the car forward, turn it off, and hop into the backseat with Joshua while the inspector did his work. If I knew this ahead of time and hadn’t told Joshua that he’d be allowed out of the car while it was being inspected, it would have been great…but he wasn’t thrilled at having to remain strapped in. Ehh.
So where does that aforementioned vehicular manslaughter come in, you ask? Well, that would be after Hubs and I traded registration cards. See, he works in Princeton and in order to reach his office, you have to drive through Princeton University. I had no problems getting to Hubs’ office; it was when I was leaving town that I encountered a huge problem. I was driving down the street, following the rules of the road, when I approached a corner. There were students everywhere (walking between classes, I assumed) so I slowed down a bit in case someone wasn’t paying attention. A little ways ahead of me, I noticed a student run across the street — the light was green, so if I hadn’t slowed down I may well have hit him, and it was at the top of a hill so I had no idea about the traffic coming from the other direction. I continued driving, about to pass under the green light when another student walked out in front of my car. If I hadn’t slammed on my brakes, he would have been roadkill, and it would have been his fault. I did hit the brakes quickly enough to stop short, scaring Joshua and myself (and probably this student as well); I kept my foot on the brake long enough to give him a moment to step back onto the curb…and instead, he chose to keep walking, ignoring the still-green traffic light. I had to slam on my brakes a second time. The moment before, I was more shaken than anything else. Now I was furious.
I hope he heard what I shouted at him through my windshield. I know the guy who was standing on the corner, waiting for the pedestrian “walk” signal, heard me, as he looked right at me, shrugged, and gave a sympathetic shake of the head.
I understand that finals are closing in, and Princeton is an Ivy League school, and he’s probably distracted and under a lot of pressure to do well and earn good grades so he can go on to medical school or law school or whatever his future might hold. That being said, I would have thought that an Ivy League student would have the brainpower to at least look both ways before walking out in front of oncoming traffic. If I hadn’t hit my brakes in time, all his work toward his unknown-by-me but probably beautiful future would have been for naught.
So why did I call this post “Good Karma”? That would be because of what happened next. I promised Joshua a trip to the mall, so he could play in the kids’ play area, I could meet up with my sister, and we could get something to eat before heading home for the day. We made it to the mall without further incident, which calmed me immensely. After playing, meeting, and eating, an interesting situation presented itself: a package was sitting in the middle of a corridor in front of the LEGO Store. I saw a FedEx delivery woman a bit ahead of us and assumed the package had fallen off the cart she pulled behind her; picking up and looking at the package, which was being shipped from the Chico’s store to an out-of-state customer confirmed my suspicions. I had a choice — I could either leave the package on the floor and pretend I hadn’t seen it, which could potentially have cost this employee her job, or I could run after her and hope to catch up before she left the building.
A quick and breathless moment later, I caught up with the delivery woman and handed her the package.
She thanked me by handing $2 to Joshua and told me to buy him a treat, on her. Just before she left the building, she hugged me and said, “It’s wonderful to know that there are still good people in this world.”
I’m so proud of myself for doing the right thing. I let go of the semi-traumatic incident from this morning and did something selfless. Something positive. I helped someone today by rescuing her package, and probably her job. As a result of my good deed, Joshua got to enjoy some of those quarter-powered rides he loves that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford today (because I had no cash or coins on me). Good deeds truly are rewarded.
I couldn’t have asked for a happier ending to a somewhat disastrous morning.
And that, my friends, is good karma.
So what good deeds have you done for others today? Share your stories in the comments!