Don Your Way column: Why can't we all be a bit nicer to each other?
I was driving home the other day through Doncaster when my journey was interrupted by a vehicle jutting out into the road.
The driver and his work-mate had parked up at a jaunty angle while they lobbed lumps of rubble into the flat-bed vehicle.
The road was too narrow for me to squeeze past, so I politely asked if they’d move. And by move, I meant by a yard or two, just so I could get my car through.
Catching my eye to indicate he’d seen me, he made it quite clear nothing was going to stop him going about his work and continued unabated. I waited patiently for a moment or two, waiting for them to move. Nothing happened.
At this point, I beeped my horn and again asked if he’d consider shifting his vehicle very slightly to get through.
Rather abruptly, it was suggested I might want to turn around and go another way.
Being, as I was, a matter of metres away from where I wanted to be, I freely admit that I unleashed a volley of verbal abuse, exchanging some expletives with my hi-viz wearing nemesis and huffily turned my car around (in a very tight spot) and eventually made my way home.
Now, I realise people have to go about their jobs and I understand that things can’t just grind to a halt immediately so I could get past.
What annoyed me was the stubborn streak, the refusal to budge, just very slightly, so the road would have been freely open, not just to me, but other road users too.
There was certainly plenty of space to park and if it had been parked properly, rather than the “abandoned stolen vehicle” approach, a flashpoint that involved two adults hurling insults in the street could have been avoided.
Instead of arriving home happy that a stranger had injected a little bit of kindness into the end of a long day by doing a simple act of courtesy, I crashed through the door fuming and upset that some jumped up jobsworth had rigidly stuck to his guns for the sake of trying to prove some kind of manly “I’m in charge” point.
And believe you me, it wasn’t a case of me trying to rudely barge my way through. The ire and anger only came when the worker refused to budge. Up until that point, I was perfectly calm and fair.
If we were all just a little bit kinder and a bit more thoughtful, the world would surely be a much nicer and better place.
Take, for example, the other day. A passenger with a guide dog got onto the train I was travelling on.
Everyone looked him up and down, but clung steadfastedly to their seat.
Further down the carriage, I was onto my feet, ready to offer my space. Another passenger, a woman, had the same idea and so he took hers. But he passed about twenty other passengers to get to that point.
Can we all be a bit nicer, please?