Personal Responsibility and the Unseen Consequences

Here’s the scene –  I was in Gloucester recently and had just completed a quick visit to my Mum & Dad’s grave. As I left the cemetery I approached the traffic lights at the end of the road where I intended to turn right to head towards the M5 north. The road I was about to cross is called ‘Eastern Avenue’ and is a main dual carriageway, always very busy.

At the lights I noticed that Eastern Avenue was being blocked on the lights junction by two cars. The first was a 4×4 driven by a lady and was parked at more than 45 degree in the middle of the road. It was completely blocking the second lane of traffic and was tight up against the second car, also a big car, again parked at a severe angle in towards the curb but with not enough room to pass the first car.

As I waited at the lights, I noticed the lady driver getting out of her car whilst talking on the phone and obviously angry about something. I was some 50ft away and could clearly hear her raise voice. The man driver had his window down and was shouting abuse at the woman and blowing the car’s horn almost non-stop for what was probably 2 or 3 minutes.

The traffic was backed up behind her and as this was close to rush hour, there was plenty of it. She was shouting abuse at the man who in reply was shouting back. Obviously there had been some altercation between them resulting in this pretty awful site of road rage at its worst.

Neither party seemed prepared to back down and the shouting and gesturing simply continued for quite some minutes. Several cars stuck in the force queue were blowing their horns in annoyance of these two idiots having a public row. By the way, neither cars seemed damaged and there obviously hadn’t been an actual coming together of the vehicles. None the less, something had taken part and both of them were locked in a red-mist road rage incident.

Eventually a break came in the forward traffic that allowed me to cross the dual carriageway. As I turned across the road, I took one final look at the two people giving each other a pointless shouting while the cars stacked up behind blocked and going nowhere soon.

I felt a little sick inside me. Two grown adults were so angry with something probably quite trivial yet shouting, swearing and hurling abuse at each other in the middle of a busy dual carriageway. Neither cared less about the inconvenience they were causing or the many drivers stopped on their journeys because of them.

Immediately I thought how selfish they were and how pathetic they were acting. And so I continued slowly up the carriageway in the heavy traffic going the same way as me. I travelled for probably about a mile, all the time aware of the stationary traffic on the other side of the carriageway caused by the road rage incident.

Suddenly I heard sirens. There in the halted traffic was an ambulance with its blues and twos on and desperately stuck in the queue. There was not enough room for people to manoeuvre out of its way and I noted the frustration on the ambulance driver’s face as he desperately tried to get through. Sirens howling, but going nowhere.

Meanwhile further up the road, I spotted a second ambulance with blue lights on, sirens going and heading straight into the queue. This road is a main route to The Great Western Hospital in Gloucester and is an essential artery road.

I worried for the two ambulances and their crew. Both were in an emergency situation and either taking onboard patients to the hospital as quickly as they could, or they were on the way to save someone’s life that had need to call for help.

But both ambulances were going nowhere. Both were being held in an unnecessary queue. The queue, by the way, was outside Gloucester’s main fire station and would have definitely stopped any of those engines getting out if they had needed to.

So there we had the unseen consequences of someone’s selfish actions. Two stupid people arguing over something that would be forgot about in hours. Their vehicles selfishly stopping anyone passing them – including two ambulances on an emergency shout.

I couldn’t help but think about who was now suffering, potentially with a life threatening illness, desperate for an ambulance to arrive and possibly taking their last breaths because the ambulance was held up.

I had a selfish thought, which, I knew was wrong. What if one of their family further down the road had called the ambulance. What if a parent back home was having a heart attack in desperate need of medical attention. What if the ambulance doesn’t make it in time. What if they die. What if one of these two road rage idiots get home and find their parent or family member deceased. What if, as they enter their house, they find that person lay on the floor with a phone nearby. What if minutes later, one of the ambulances pulls up outside the house and firstly apologises for being held up in a traffic queue. What if.

Ok, so that is a bit extreme, but someone somewhere did not receive their medical attention as quickly as they might have if the road had been clear. All I could think was this was a clear cut case of the unseen consequences of not taking personal responsibility.  The two road rage motorists might have cost a life, or at the very best, delayed someone else’s medical attention. All because of their stupid actions.

The fifth principle of the Spiritualist movement is ‘Personal Responsibility’. On this day I had witnessed the way that someone not taking personal responsibility had serious consequences for someone else not even involved with their actions. Food for thought, don’t you think?   ♥

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