The heavily tattooed man with the Mohawk in the beat-up sedan next to mine, looked, for lack of a better word, mean. His wife or girlfriend on the passenger side had several piercings on her face, and she looked pretty rough as well. Under normal circumstances there was no way I would dare approach these people. But I had a problem. I was already late for an appointment and I was stuck in a lane that would force me right back on to the freeway. There was a long line-up of cars behind me. I rolled down my passenger window and honked a couple of short beeps. The driver glanced over, saw I was trying to get his attention, rolled down his own window, and lifted an eyebrow. “Yeah?”
“Hey, listen, I’ve ended up in the wrong lane and need to go that way,” I called, pointing forward. “Any chance you’d let me pull in front of you as soon as the light changes?”
It took him just a second or two. “Oh . . .Oh, yeah, sure,” he answered. “Yeah, I can let you in. No problem!” He lifted a corner of his mouth.
“Thanks so much!” I responded. “Thank you! Thank you!”
The woman leaned forward and smiled as well, a couple of teeth missing. She raised her hand.
The light changed about twenty seconds later, and true to his word, the guy motioned me over. I whipped in front of him and raced through the green light so quickly that nobody behind either of us even had time to honk. Then I waved energetically out the window.
You’re welcome, the guy honked back.
I was still smiling when I got to my appointment. The heavily tattooed driver with the Mohawk in that beat-up sedan had looked “mean,” but he wasn’t mean. He was nice.