I’ve been meaning to write about this particular incident for some time now but never really gotten down to it as I’ve wondered how I can get the point across without a picture. The incident happened when Dirty Shoes and I went to get breakfast at a McDonald’s drive-thru, and on our way out, I was so touched by this truck driver’s action, I felt it deserved a post here. Also, Dirty Shoes mentioned that it will never happen in Singapore =X
For those who do not read Mandarin, the title of this post 马路如湖口 (ma lu ru hu kou) is a play on the original phrase 马路如虎口 (read the same way in Mandarin), the latter of which translates to “the roads are like jaws of death,” while the title of this post means, “the roads are like the entrance to a lake (safe and peaceful).” Perhaps not a very well done pun but it serves my purpose so I shall keep it as it is.
Anyhow, I suddenly recalled the incident today and was about to use my elementary Photoshop skills to draw out the map when I suddenly got an epiphany that I could use Google Maps’ aerial view. Genius huh? I bet no one knew about the existence of Google Maps (duh…)
So here it is:
– White car: Us
– Red car: Random stranger
– Yellow car: Kind driver
So what happened was, we were about to turn out toward the left after making our purchase and the traffic light was at red. The kind driver (yellow car in image above) stopped a little further behind the red car so that we had space to turn out. To put things in perspective, this is actually very common in Japan. Drivers tend to stop a little further behind if there are vehicles coming out so that wasn’t so surprising for the truck driver to do. But what touched me was that, when the light turned green, the red car took off and just when I was about to turn out, an elderly man walking very slowly came in our direction to cross in front of our vehicle. I noticed him and decided to wait to let him pass before turning out. Since the light had already turned green, I had assumed the kind truck driver would just move off seeing how slowly the old man was walking, and also there were a number of other vehicles waiting behind him. But to my surprise, he just sat there and waited, not intending to move his vehicle and watching the elderly man walk pass our vehicle together. As soon the the elderly man completed his crossing, the truck driver signaled for me to go first. I was so moved, I felt like my smile, nod, wave and hazard light of thank you weren’t enough to express my gratitude.
And to the credit of the other vehicles behind, none of them sounded their horn at the truck driver to move. I simply adore the gracefulness of the Japanese people, they make the roads such a pleasant place to be driving on. I have a Korean colleague who agrees as even though he lives in Korea, he only drives when he visits Japan. The Korean drivers are another story altogether *sweat*
Sure, there have been road rage incidents and all those are shared online or reported on the TV, but they don’t reflect the real situation of driving in Japan. After all, who would be interested in seeing something normal happen, right? And I sure hope that is also the case for Singapore because having seen all those road rage videos on Facebook, I’m now afraid to drive in Singapore =\