We hear it, we read it, and indeed, we often say it: “This city has the most inconsiderate drivers on the planet.” But, after unending weeks of navigating the highways of Wichita, with their orange-striped cones and barrels, I’ve discovered we also have some very kind and courteous drivers. I also discovered that being thoughtful under such trying conditions raises my spirits. So, I started giving myself “Halo Points” whenever I paused for a couple of seconds to let someone enter a stream of traffic. My friend, Tracy, recently related an incident where one driver earned “Halo Points” big time.
Tracy stopped to let a mother duck lead her six fuzzy, babies across a bustling stretch of road. A mud-caked pickup in the next lane did the same. All traffic came to a halt as this heart-warming scene unfolded. The minutes ticked by as travelers watched the little family waddle on its way. Understanding smiles crept across now-relaxed faces. Many, undoubtedly, pondered the duckling’s innocent faith in their caring mother. At the curb, Mama Mallard hopped up and took a few steps before noticing her wee ones couldn’t make the leap. They had abandoned their neat line and were a blur of yellow in the leaf-strewn gutter. Over and over they jumped, fluttered their fluffy wings, fell back, and tried again. Deep concern shifted from driver to driver. Tracy wasn’t sure, but the anxious mother’s eyes seemed to be growing bigger with each failed attempt. What was she going to do?
Suddenly, this burly, scruffy-looking guy in the next lane stepped out of his old truck. His long, unruly hair, 2-day stubble, dirty jeans and muddy boots quickly pegged him as "bad news" to parents of dating daughters. He ambled over to the ducklings, and very gently, one by one, picked them up and placed them beside their nervous mother. After doing a head count, mama duck started off. Then, just as you would expect, everyone in sight began honking horns, cheering, clapping and waving. It was one of those “never judge a book by its cover” moments for Tracy.
Are you smiling now? If so, the next time you’re behind the wheel, try earning some “Halo Points” for yourself. Give a break to the car whose occupant might be late for an important meeting. Afterall, the driver’s heart might be in the right place; his feet might be clad in muddy boots.
Rachel Dayvault started writing when she was four—around the same time she began roving the neighborhood in search of adventure. Eventually, she combined these passions into travel articles and creative non-fiction stories about people in distant lands. Though she has lived in Kansas most of her life, her roots go deep in small-town Oklahoma. Her novel, "Toward the Sun-Rising"— A Journey to Love and Far-Away Places—is a love story for older Americans, speaking to the seldom-discussed problems caused by grown children. It is available through amazon.com and xlibris.com.