Integrity Matters
June 8, 2005

Do the right thing when no one's watching

Question: (E-188)

Dear Jim:

Does anybody do the right thing any more?


Yes, and a case in point relates to a police report coming from Texas. The woman who did the right thing probably will never receive public recognition, but her story is commendable and reassuring. Over and over, we remind our readers that character is what folks do when no one is watching. You can restore your confidence in the goodness of people when you learn of the decisiveness, courage and compassion of this young woman. She was driving early one morning, at the speed limit, about 65 mph, only to catch in her rearview mirror the sight of two cars catching up to her rapidly.

She recognized that the speeding vehicles were weaving close to one another and she became anxious. Noting the cars were side by side, one in her lane, she knew to move to the right to get out of the way. As the vehicles passed she observed the drivers screaming and gesturing crudely to one another.

Returning to her lane, and proceeding directly behind them, only seconds later, one car bumped the other hard enough to knock it sideways and then smash into it again, creating a horrible out-of control spin and crash.

One car crashed head-on into the oncoming lane, while the other driver sped away. Using her cell phone, the alert observer called 9-1-1 and then increased her speed until she could see the other vehicle, including its license number. Returning to the accident scene, she saw police officers removing dead bodies and trying to reconstruct the accident. She was able to provide valuable information and learned later in the day that the fleeing driver had been apprehended.

Who expects modern-day drivers to place themselves at risk to gather information for those in law enforcement? Isn't that the job of police officers? In this instance, the ordinary citizen - a decent and caring young woman - accepted responsibility for making the world a better place and went the extra mile, in this case, probably several miles, at personal risk.

The lawbreaker is in custody. Whatever this individual says to explain the road rage is simply unacceptable. Accidental death with a motor vehicle is sickening, but intentional vehicular homicide is incomprehensible.

The good from this story is the integrity of one young woman.

Her actions are a reminder to be responsive to the needs of others and a role model to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

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