Hit and run kindness - Greg Gelpi

An unexpected thud jarred me and my car.

"Man, he hit me," jumped from my mouth.

As suddenly as the Ford Explorer towing a mini cement mixer barreled into my lane and sideswiped my car, the SUV sped away, skidded to a stop feet from another collision and vanished.

Admittedly, I was a little more than mad that some apparently drunk driver rammed into me recklessly. That emotion, though, paled with the mix of anger and bewilderment at the fact that the guy just drove away.

As part of my personal philosophy, I subscribe to something I call "basic human kindness."

The idea is that there is a fundamental relationship between human beings, a basic level of interaction that can be expected.

Runners, heavy with exhaustion, almost always pass on the street, lock eyes and make a gentle gesture.

Even busy pedestrians scurrying along a sidewalk manage to form a smile at a fellow pedestrian approaching from the opposite direction.

Not even my wishful thinking would have everyone following this philosophy, and I accept this.

Whether it be guilt, upbringing or a little voice in my head, the thought wouldn't have even considered coming in my head to continue on as if nothing happened after ramming into another car.

Had the situation been reversed, considering the world we live in, shots could have been fired for fleeing the scene.

If someone's struggling with a bag of groceries, you grab the door. If someone sneezes, you say "God bless you." And, if for whatever reason you drift into another lane of traffic and hit a car, you stop and make sure the person isn't injured.

Fortunately, I wasn't, but the next guy might not have been so lucky.

In the guy's attempt to flee, he hit the gas and darted into a turning lane, realizing in a flash that the light was red and a car stood immediately between him and his getaway.

Between the speed of his escape and the weight of towing a cement mixer, his wheels screeched and smoked as he skidded helplessly toward another near accident.

The light turned green, and he not so deftly took off into the darkness of a side street.

More attention went into his fleeing the scene of the crime than went into concern for my safety or rectifying a wrong.

I didn't want, nor did I expect, him to park in the middle of Tara Boulevard, drop to his knees and beg for forgiveness.

I did want and did expect the guy to at least give a courtesy wave or nod of the head to make sure I was alive and kicking.

I would certainly have wanted more, but basic human kindness dictates at least some form, even the slightest form, of acknowledgement.

But, alas, my expectations of my fellow man seem to be more than they should be.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.