I am stunned and a little shaken. My car has been pushed towards the cars parked at the side
of the street, and people are congregating as they always do. I find I cannot open the driver’s door to escape this
The child who ran out into the path of the other car has retreated to her mother’s care,
and is sobbing noisily.
The other driver suddenly appears in front of me, yelling. I can see she is also shaken.
'Bloody Asian!' she screams.
'Excuse me, I am Vietnamese', I reply. 'My family name is Nguyen, and you crashed into
'It wasn’t my fault,' she returns. 'You could have avoided all this if you’d slowed
I do not understand her thought processes but know enough not to try. I have no idea how fast
I was travelling, but am reasonably certain it was well below the speed limit. I had seen the child start her rush onto the
road and had already started to brake.
Thanks to the media, and their unthinking campaign against 'Asian drivers' I have become excessively
careful with my driving.
So I bow slightly without correcting her, and cling to my earnest wish not to be reincarnated
as a lower life form.
'The child seems safe and well but frightened', I point out. 'She has learned a valuable lesson
today, although it is you and I who must pay with our damaged cars.'
Her eyelids flicker. 'This is my son’s car,' she says. 'His insurance won’t cover
your actions. You’ll have to pay!'
An older woman appears, and places her arm around my assailant.
'Oh, Sandy', she croons. 'You poor thing. Brad’s car’s a bit of a mess, isn’t
it? Never mind, the tow truck’s on its way and the doctor’s here. We’ll go and get you checked out while
we’re waiting, shall we?'
She looks at me and I remain still and silent as she leads the woman into a nearby house. She
returns remarkably quickly.
'Right, what about you?' she asks
I sag a little in relief and offer my details. She takes many notes. Already, traffic is starting
to inch around our damaged vehicles and public interest is waning.
I begin to shake in earnest.
Suddenly, tow trucks and a police car are with us. The older woman turns to the police officer,
' I’m Heather Miles and I saw the whole thing. This gentleman is….'
But my brain has gone out to its lunch.
Copyright (c) Corrie Cook 2005