In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “180 Degrees.”
“180 Degrees: Tell us about a time you did a 180—changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.”
It was the year 2005. A moody Thursday in a border town located in South Texas. It was late in the afternoon. The clouds have covered the sky, dark and grey. Rain poured down, as though an entire ocean was being drained from above. Thunder rumbled in the sky, so deep and ominous. Brief flickers of lightening created a momentary ray, only to disappear right away.
In a silver Honda Accord, I sat in the back seat, entirely drenched by the rain, and with my backpack clinging on. With the wipers oscillating with such fierce swiftness, my father drove, calmly and slowly.
The road was barely visible, flooded by the heavy waters. With the hazard lights on, and the high beams burning bright, we moved—steady and strong.
Just then, a gray SUV zoomed past, splashing several feet of water on either side. The SUV so recklessly rushed past, on the opposite lane, in a hurry seemingly unneeded with such a monstrous weather. As the SUV shoved past, our car forcibly swayed to the right nearing the edge of the road, almost veering off into the ditch. Although our car trembled, my father, as skilled as he was, kept it on the road and we remained safe. The SUV merged onto our lane, in front of us, and kept the speed haste.
In shock we sat, wondering of what had happened. Unable to understand the irresponsible speed and reckless driving the SUV had displayed. We thought it to be a careless person, without consideration for another life. Surely it must be right, if they drove in such a reckless haste?
At a distance, a frail old woman, half deep in water, walked in a struggle, on the right side of our lane. The rain was pouring heavily upon her; she prodded along, with a hand full of bags, completely drenched. With the waters flooded heavily, her every step must be placed so precisely or she risks falling into the ditch, with the waters hiding the edge.
As we worriedly approached the frail woman closer and closer, the “reckless” SUV ahead, recessed its speed. With the hazard lights on, the SUV came to a complete stop. Its passenger side front door propped open right adjacent the frail woman. What was said between them remains unknown. But a gentle smile came upon the frail woman’s face, as she struggled to climb onto the seat.
As we passed the SUV, our rear-view mirror revealed a beautiful sight. The SUV that was in such a “reckless” rush, picked up the frail woman, and now turned around, driving off in the opposite direction. Seemingly, providing this woman with a ride and relief from the danger that surrounded.
It was a complete paradigm shift. Just moments before, we had thought of this person driving the SUV to be someone who was so inconsiderate of another life. Since, they drove so recklessly in this horrid weather, almost forcing us off to the ditch. But, that image changed completely as the person gave a ride to this frail old woman, driving off in the opposite direction, caring enough to take this woman to safety.
Our view of this person took a complete 180. Till this day, 10 years after, the kindness displayed by providing the old woman with safety is what is revered. It showed me that no one is either good or bad. No one is black or white. We are all but a collective shade, capable of making good choices, capable of showing kindness. I’d like to think that the person who drove the SUV, after almost forcing us off the road, reflected upon his or her haste, perhaps felt it was an unneeded momentary impulse. Perhaps it was one of those moments that changed his or her perspective of life, and forced him or her to slow down, and continue this journey without rush. Perhaps that is what compelled the once-rushing person to halt, offer a ride, and head off in the opposite direction. Or perhaps it’s nothing more than that he or she is simply, human. Capable of polar expressions. Capable of actions beyond reason. Capable of making their own 180s.
– Surely, Sherley
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Copyright © Sherley J. Edinbarough (Surely, Sherley and/or SurelySherley), 2015.