Red-faced about ignoring that flashing green light
BY STEVEN WARBURTON
News Staff Okay, folks. It’s confession time. I’m deeply ashamed of what I am about to tell you. There are two reasons I am doing this:
1. I suspect I am not the only person to commit such a faux pas. 2. The public needs to know. This happened about a month ago. I was driving west on SDG 43 in Alexandria when suddenly, this bearded guy in a grey car comes speeding up behind me. He looks anxious, like he desperately wants me to pull over so he can pass. I refused though. The poor guy just kept pace with me, wringing his hands in exasperation, and finally passed me when the coast was clear. He shot me a dirty look too and I almost gave him one back. How dare he think his destination was more important than my own.
Well, it turns out that his destination was more important than wherever I was going that night. Immediately after passing me, the bearded gentleman turned left into the parking lot of the Alexandria fire station. I sudden- ly remembered the green light that had been flashing on his dashboard – something I had mistakenly assumed to be a vanity piece – and then I was deeply ashamed. The bearded dude in the grey car was a volunteer firefighter. So yeah, I felt like a horse’s ass. But you know what? I’m not alone. There are plenty of folks out there who don’t know what the green flashing light is all about. Even worse, there’s probably a large contingency of people who don’t care either.
As luck would have it, I recently fell into conversation with a retired longtime firefighter with the Beckwith County Volunteer Fire Department. He told me an awful cringe-inducing story about being behind the wheel of an actual fire truck – you know, the kind that’s big and red and has a really loud siren that goes WOO WOO WOO!!! The kind of vehicle that is about as subtle as a train wreck.
My new friend told me that he was driving this truck to an emergency call. On the road in front of him was a woman who refused to get out of the way. She just kept driving her car at a nice leisurely pace, totally oblivious to the emergency vehicle behind her that was, no doubt, filling her world with red and white lights.
Eventually the truck overtook the silly lady in the car. I am not allowed to tell you if any obscene gestures were exchanged. I felt better but I sure didn’t feel exonerated. I know I’m not dumb enough to hold up an actual fire truck but, apparently, I’m blockheaded enough to do it to a volunteer firefighter in his own personal vehicle.
My friend from Beckwith County heard my confession and absolved me as best he could. I, in turn, promised to use my experience to pen this column as a public service announcement.
Here is the public service announcement:
If you see a vehicle that has a flashing green light on the dashboard, then please treat it like it’s an ambulance transport- ing someone you love to the hospital. The person operating that vehicle is a firefighter who may be en route to put out a fire and, quite possibly, save somebody’s life.
I have no idea who the bearded gentleman in the grey vehicle is but if he’s reading this, I hope he will accept my apology.