One patient driver in a sea of crazies

Courteous drivers are fairly rare in Philadelphia. I used to be one back when I lived in Portland, OR, but over the last five years, the driving norms of Philly have infiltrated my being and I now find myself running reds, cutting people off and oftentimes forgetting to give a polite wave of thanks when someone lets me in.

Tonight, while I was being a pedestrian instead of a driver, I happened to see an unusual event. There was a man in an early model GM sedan going west on Sansom Street, just about to cross 18th Street. The traffic up ahead of him was backed up, and so if he proceeded through the light, which was still green, he ran the risk of getting stuck in the middle of the intersection, frustrating oncoming traffic in the meantime. So instead, he waited and missed the light. The traffic was still backed up, so his fears of getting caught in the middle would have been founded, but this didn’t stop the woman in the car behind him from putting an elbow on her horn and leaning out the window to scream at him.

He was unfazed by it, and responded simply by saying, “I didn’t want to block the box. Will you please calm down?” I crossed in front of his car, and nearly stopped to thank him for his polite manner. I don’t know what stopped me, but I was momentarily struck mute.

So I’d like to take this forum to say thank you to the driver of this car, who was at the intersection around 4:55 pm this afternoon. I wish there were more drivers on the road like you and you inspire me to approach driving with patience and a calm attitude.

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