After I had picked up my daughter from school one day very recently, we were on our daily 30km drive home when I noticed a rock in the middle of the highway. Traffic was a bit busy at the time. I safely pulled over to the shoulder, thinking this was an opportune time to teach my daughter a good lesson about looking out for other people. I told her to observe the rock that was causing motorists driving by to dodge it. It was an accident waiting to happen.
There were public works employees by the roadside; they were going about their business. There were also vendors selling fruits in nearby stalls. With all the eyes around that rock and with motorists obviously seeing it, I found it disappointing that no one had done anything about this potentially dangerous object. All I could think of at this point was that God had put me in this position to address the issue. And so I did.
When the coast became clear, I carefully crossed the highway and picked up the rock. As I tossed it to the side of the road, I couldn’t help but notice the people around looking at me for what I had just done. One of the workers then grabbed a piece of plywood to help get the smaller debris off the asphalt. I returned to our vehicle to see my daughter smiling as she remarked how the road was now much safer thanks to my small act of concern.
I told her that simply knowing isn’t enough in life. It’s about taking the initiative to correct something when the opportunity presents itself.
Our indifferent attitude must shift to one of empathy and compassion. If you encounter a pothole the size of a crater, report it immediately to the authorities or post an update to your popular navigation app to help others avoid it. If you witness traffic violators, notify officials that could take the necessary action to discipline them. When you catch someone throwing garbage out the window, muster some courage to politely point out to the person that doing so is wrong. If you see pedestrians jaywalking, encourage them to follow you to the crosswalk or up the footbridge.
I returned to our vehicle to see my daughter smiling as she remarked how the road was now much safer thanks to my small act of concern
If we are to improve our hellish motoring situation, we must first change our mindset toward the way we use the road. It can’t always be about just getting our way. We must rid ourselves of our “bahala na” or “labas ako dyan” mentality, and replace it with malasakit toward others. Only then can we start sincerely caring about one another. It always feels light on the heart and the spirit to confront and fix the problem instead of walking away and pretending we didn’t notice it.
Go pick up that rock. A child could be watching you.