I was at a traffic light somewhere near Section 17 of PJ recently, when I was rear-ended. Sighing, I calmly pulled over while signalling the car behind me to follow suit so we could assess the damage.
As I got out of my car, an apologetic old pakcik came up to me saying, “Alamak, sorry, sorry, sorry!
“I was changing the radio station and the next thing when I looked up, I had banged your car,” he admitted honestly.
“Are you okay?” I was worried upon noticing the pakcik trembling.
“Yes, yes…I am okay. But I am sorry…so sorry I hit your car,” he apologised again.
Well, my bumper did take a good beating but it was nothing major that would cost an arm and a leg to fix. I realised the pakcik’s old Proton suffered as well in the mishap although he genuinely seemed more worried about my car than his.
Almost instantaneously, I remembered an incident that took place just three weeks or so before. At the time, I was driving along Jalan Ipoh with a friend when a Volvo, whose driver was busy on the phone, blindly drove out of a junction and hit the side of my car, wrecking my front bumper and smashing my front passenger door.
We both pulled over and while I inspected the damage, the driver of the Volvo, a man in his late 40s, stood at the pavement and said, “I pay, I pay.”
I then did what most drivers do – I took out my handphone and snapped pictures of my car, his car and his car registration number. Boy, he got pretty mad when I did that!
“Why are you treating me like a criminal?” he screamed at me and my friend.
“Sorry but I am just making sure everything is documented,” I explained.
“No, no, no! You are standing in the middle of the road, taking pictures, making me look bad. I already said I will pay, why you taking more pictures? If this is how you behave, we might as well drive straight to the police station,” he said, throwing a fit.
Anyway, not wishing to make things any worse, I agreed to drive to his mechanic for an assessment and repair work.
While at the mechanic, the man whipped out a stack of fifty ringgit notes and handed it to the mechanic. Turning to me, he flipped a fifty between his fingers and practically shoved the money into my face.
“Buat belanja teksi,” he said with his nose almost touching the clouds. I was insulted by his arrogance. The accident was clearly his fault, but not once did he apologise, being more caught up instead in telling me he would bear the cost for repairs.
“No, thank you. I don’t want your money. Just get my car fixed,” I said, walking off in a silent fury.
The truth is, this egoistical Volvo driver is not an isolated freak of nature as I’ve had the misfortune of encountering one too many of his kind before.
Last year for example, a driver who banged my car from behind made no effort to get out of his car to either check on my safety or offer an apology for his recklessness. Instead he simply wound down his window and waved as he drove past. The nerve!
As I compare these two incidents, I can’t help but ask myself: Why are some people so full of themselves, rude and downright arrogant? Is it because they believe their wealth, power and status place them above us mere mortals?
If you think about it, we meet people like this everywhere – on the street, in our apartment buildings, in the office, on the news. People who think highly of themselves and nothing of others. People whose enormous egos are bigger than their heads and whose intelligence and humility is questionable.
The only good thing that has emerged from this is that I have more respect for people like the good ol’ pakcik, whose humility was a breath of fresh air.
In case you were wondering, the pakcik and I settled our accident issue with a solid handshake and called it a day. I guess when a person is big enough to show some humility, they deserve to be shown some kindness in return.