The Bird and the Fire Engine
(2001, Florida) A stretch of road in Clearwater dubbed the "Miracle Mile" carries three times its designed load of traffic. A few years ago I was approaching a green light at a busy intersection on the Miracle Mile when I noticed a fire engine, lights flashing and sirens blaring, trying to cross against the light.
People were whizzing by, oblivious to the fire engine, and preventing it from crossing. I don't know how they overlooked it -- presumably they just chose to ignore it. If an emergency vehicle were responding to something involving me, I'd want it to have nothing but clear road, so I always give way.
I pulled up to the crosswalk and stopped, despite the green light. Traffic continued to whiz past me on both sides, ignoring the fire engine sitting at the intersection awash with lights and sirens. A guy in a white Lexus nearly rear-ended me, and as he gingerly nosed his way back into the traffic that was whizzing by, he locked eyes with me and gave me a single finger salute, holding eye contact until he was completely past me.
He faced forward just in time to see the fire engine smack in front of him. It had finally fought its way into the middle of the intersection. I'd have liked to stay and witness his ignominy, but instead I waved cheerfully and drove off, leaving him to explain to police and a dozen unhappy firemen, how he could miss a forty-foot bright-yellow fire truck with a shrieking siren and enough lights to outshine a Christmas tree.
Unfortunately he didn't quite win a Darwin Award.
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Submitted by: Alan Petrillo