I first saw them out of the corner of my eye. Four runners with blond hair gleaming in the sunlight. Three girls and one boy. They were so happy and carefree.
They looked to all be between the ages of 10 and 15, and they were enough alike that I immediately assumed they were from the same family. It was not quite 3:30 so I guessed they had just been released from school for the day and where hurrying home.
Traffic was heavy, but moving quickly, so I had little attention to spare for the group. Especially with the additional distraction of that glorious sun, which I had missed during the day due to my windowless office.
As I rolled down my window to enjoy a breeze, one of the runners, the boy, broke away from his crowd by shooting across a street just as the walk sign turned from walk to don’t walk. I could see the signs of frustration and stress in the shoulders of the three left behind at the curb waiting for the light to change, so I assumed they had decided to race home and the boy had “cheated” a bit by not waiting to cross with his sisters.
But traffic was still flowing, the sun was still shining, the breeze was still blowing, and it was really none of my business if the boy had an overly developed sense of competition.
The blare of a horn drew my attention back to the side of the road, and I turned my head just in time to see the boy barely being missed by a SUV. He had once again ignored the walk sign.
The thought that the boy had passed out of competitivousness and into stupidity crossed my mind a split second before, without even pausing to check the road for a break in the traffic, he shot across directly in front of me!
I slammed on my breaks in shock. My only thought was not to hit the stupid little idiot while I prayed that all the cars behind me were paying enough attention to avoid hitting me. I didn’t even have enough time to honk my horn before he safely reached the sidewalk and continued running down a side street.
He had escaped injury today. But I had to wonder if this kind of behavior was normal for him.
If so, his parents–and some driver, somewhere, sometime–was in for heartbreak.