Dear Person Driving the Cream-Colored SUV:
I may not be in the work force right now, but I get it. I’ve been in your shoes before. You only get an hour for lunch, so you need to hurry if you have errands to run or food to pick up. Or maybe you’re on your way back to the office and running late because of traffic from everyone else trying to do the same thing.
And then, bam! You see the blinking lights of the school zone. And, for about a quarter of a mile, you have to slow down to 15 miles per hour.
And you’re forced to slow down. Because you’re behind me. And I’m going 15. And it’s ticking you off.
Who does this guy think he is? you probably are thinking to yourself. You’re chomping at the bit to get to wherever it is you’re going, and I’m holding you up. I don’t see any kids out there! I don’t see why I have to go 15 miles an hour!
You’re right. You don’t see any kids. And that is precisely why you need to go 15 miles an hour.
Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Maybe you don’t have kids, or maybe your kids are older, and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have little ones. Well, one thing you may have forgotten (0r may not be aware of) is the fact that little kids can be unpredictable. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had one or both of my kids break into a sprint away from me in a parking lot. It scares the hell out of me.
I pull them back and very sternly admonish them for acting so carelessly. I then hug them tight and tell them that I’m not mad–I’m scared. I’m scared because I don’t want anything to happen to them, and that they need to hold my hand in a parking lot. They need to stay close because they’re little, and little children are sometimes hard for people in cars to see.
And if people in cars can’t see them, they don’t know they’re there. And they won’t stop.
I remember the stories from when I was growing up in my things-like-that-don’t-happen-here school district. Stories of people speeding in the school zone. And the kids that got hit. The kids that were sometimes launched in the air by the impact. Kids with permanently debilitating injuries. Or worse.
I remember tut-tutting at those stories. What a shame, I would think. But now that I have children of my own, those stories don’t simply give me pause any more. They terrify me.
So I know that you’re probably tired, and stressed out, and have too much on your to-do list today, and are probably a little impatient because of it. Again, I get it. I’ve been there. I still have days like that. But when it comes to the school zone, please think of your kids, even if you have to think back to when they were little. Or think of the kids you might have one day.
Just think. And please slow down.