Sunday, 31 March 2013

When things don't go your way, think of the times when they do

Life indeed, has its ups and downs. Sometimes we are lucky while at other times we are not. Nobody goes through life in a flat line; it would be such a boring experience if there is such a life.

For some of us who have gone through very tough times and faced many problems, it would seem that the downhill stretch of our life journey is always longer than the uphill part. Personally, I do not believe it to be so. We only remember the downward journey because of the suffering. We tend to forget the upward movement because we enjoy the nice view too much and forget the blessings that come with it. It is therefore worthwhile for us to appreciate that the good times which come our way more than sufficiently compensate the bad ones. To illustrate this point, I relate to you the following story which comes in two parts.

Some time in the middle of February, my wife called me while I was at work. She said that a motorcyclist had crashed into the front of her car on the very road in front of our house. The biker was coming from the opposite direction at very fast speed and apparently was not looking straight ahead. The lane in front of my house is not that wide and the passage is made narrower by cars parked along the side. The collision could not be avoided.

The young man who rode the motorcycle was flung off his bike but luckily for him, no serious injuries were sustained. My wife's car suffered quite a bit of damage; the right headlight and signal light were totally smashed, the hood and side panel were badly dented. To make matters worse, the biker has no valid license and it is quite doubtful if he had the required road tax and insurance cover too. To avoid a formal police report being made, he offered to pay for the damage to my wife's car. But he does not have any cash on him, so he told the story that he has a sister who would come later in the day after work, with some money as initial payment. The balance would be paid at the end of the month when he gets his salary. As a measure of his sincerity, he left his identity card for my wife to hold on to. Being the kind-hearted soul that she is, my wife accepted the proposal. Besides, there wasn't much else she could do; the guy was broke.

When I got home from work and had a look at the car, I estimated that repair works would cost in excess of RM500. While we waited for this so-called sister of the biker to show up, I had a look at the IC that was left behind. It shows an address within the same kampung but my wife said she actually went to the street mentioned in the IC but nobody in the area knows the man. That was when we had a feeling that we've been duped. The so-called sister never showed up. I called the phone number that supposedly belongs to the sister but the call was not answered.

The next day, I told my wife to proceed with making a police report. The guy has already disappeared and it became clear that we have to bear the full cost of the repair. I considered a few options on how I can try to go after the biker but in the end I decided just to let the matter go and swallow the loss.

The damage to my wife's Proton Wira
So that's the first part of this story which touches on misfortune. Now to the next part.

About two weeks after the incident mentioned above, I was on my way to Kuala Lumpur to attend a meeting at my Head Office. It was Sunday evening and I was driving alone on the North-South Expressway. As I reached Senawang, the traffic became heavy and all 3 lanes of the highway slowed down to a stop-go movement. It was a real struggle to be stuck in such a jam especially since I was driving a 4-wheel drive pickup with manual transmission.

The slow crawl took me past Seremban interchange when the unfortunate happened. During one of the stop-go cycles, I had a lapse in concentration and did not brake in time when the car in front had stopped. I hit into the back of this car which in turn caused it to jerk forward and hit the car in front of it. As I stepped out of my car to survey the damage, I realised that I had run into a Beemer. Crap, I thought... the repair to this car is going to be expensive. Since it was my fault, I'd better be prepared to cough out a sizeable sum.

The driver of the Beemer got out. He was a young man probably in his late 20's. I saw the initial disappointed look on his face and so quickly admitted my fault and said sorry. He then went to inspect the car that he had hit. The driver of this car, another young man, also got out and the three of us we looking at the damage to the rear bumper. There was a slight dent and some scratches. The two young men then had a quite discussion with each other, after which I saw the driver that I hit took out his wallet, gave some money to the driver of the front-most car who took it and drove away.

We then had a look at his car. There were some dents to both the front and rear bumpers. I asked him how much he needed but he politely declined. When I insisted on paying something, he said to pay whatever I can afford. I took some RM notes from my wallet which I'm sure is not enough to cover his cost but he took the money without question. I offered him my phone number just in case he needed more after the repairs were done but he simply said, it's okay, no need. He got into his car and we both resumed out journey. It was all over in a matter of minutes. No fuss and no aggravation. I didn't even have time to take note of his license plate number.

As I drove away from the incident, I couldn't help but be thankful that it turned out all right. I'm left thinking that the young man's parents had brought him up well. He's obviously rich but never once did he show any arrogance. And I'm not implying that rich people are. To the young man who drives a dark blue BMW 3-series whom I accidentally ran into on the NSE somewhere near Seremban, thank you for your kindness. Your parents must be proud of you and may Allah swt bless you.

And so my friends, when things don't go your way, do take a step back and think of the times when they do...