Friday, June 20, 2014
It wasn’t much as far as accidents go.
No fireball. No fatalities. No screeching tires. In fact, one car wasn’t even moving, according to Bruce Hopkins, who was sitting in his blue Volvo wagon at the intersection of Courtland and Hermitage earlier in June, his 3-year-old son strapped in the back seat. They had just been to a class at the Old Town School of Folk Music.
A Chicago Transit Authority bus, trying to turn left, bumped into his car.
“The side of the bus is getting closer and closer, and I’m thinking, ‘Surely not,’’’ Hopkins said. “Surely they’re going to realize it’s too close. I’m tooting my horn and thinking: ‘Hang on. This isn’t going to happen.’”
As the alert reader will suspect, from the “surely not” and the “hang on,” that Hopkins is British, married to Natasha Loder, the Midwest correspondent for The Economist, someone I’ve shared a number of pleasant hours, trading tales of Rahm Emanuel. That’s how the story came to me, but not why I’m writing about it. I’m writing about it because of what happened after the bus hit Hopkins’ car.
The driver of the bus got out and accused Hopkins of driving into her.
Rather than being indignant, Hopkins really pegs himself as a fair-minded Brit by sympathizing with the dissembling driver.
“What really struck me,” he said, ignoring the bus, “is why would a bus driver feel, laying aside the potability that they genuinely believed that a car stopped at a four-way stop sign was moving, why would a driver not feel able to say, ‘Sorry, mate.’ The level of fear somebody must feel that they can’t admit a simple mistake. People are generally decent. Why would somebody make something up about something so trivial?”
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