Be Human Be Mindful

Thank you for not hitting me.

A few weeks ago I was waiting to turn into my driveway. A woman who lives in the neighborhood was walking along the sidewalk with her dog. I waited for her to finish crossing our driveway. Then I pulled in and parked.

When I got out of my car she was waiting for me. I know her by sight but don’t know her name. We wave or nod at each other when we walk by each other in the neighborhood, but that is the extent of our relationship.

Now. Here she was. Waiting in my driveway.

“Thank you for not hitting me,” she said. “Or my dog.”

I paused, unsure what to say. Isn’t that just a basic-decency-be-good-to-other-people thing? Are you actually thanking me for not hitting you with my car??

She continued in the silence I left hanging. “You’d be surprised how many times we almost get hit. Me or her,” she motioned to her small dog.

I nodded and found my voice. “Of course. I’m sorry that’s become something you have to say thank you for.”

She nodded. “Yes, me too. But it’s so rare these days I wanted to say thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I said.

Then she continued on her walk and I continued on with my day.


If I were my own best friend, I would ask myself to take stock of whether or not I stop for people who are walking along sidewalks. Do I give them space to walk? Do I give space to their dogs? Do I nearly hit them when I rapidly pull into the driveway, instead of waiting 30 seconds? And if I am pulling in that quickly, is it because someone is on fire? Bleeding? Dying? Needing CPR? Or some other time-sensitive emergency?

If it’s not one of those last things, one of those life-ending, time-critical issues, well then, slow the heck down. Wait for your neighbor. And the dog. And the small kid who keeps stopping to pick up leaves every two feet. And the obnoxious guy on his phone who isn’t watching where he’s walking. And the teenager with attitude. And the woman walking two miles an hour. Wait for them. Give grace.

Make this a world where people are NOT surprised when you wait for them. Make this a world where people don’t wait to thank you for not hitting them. Make this a world where we slow down, we see people, and we are more human for it.

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