I can’t remember when this happened, but it was within the last two months. I’ve struggled with it since then, daily. Because one thing I have a huge problem with is letting stuff go. I KNOW I can’t change the past and that past faults are there for learning from. For bettering yourself with. And I KNOW I have a problem with letting stuff go, yet I’ve had a hard time, my entire life, doing just that. I can’t let things go.
I knew as soon as it happened that I’d never be able to forgive myself for it. I questioned why I was doing it as I did it. Like it happened in slow motion and I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to, but it was too late. And now I have to live with it for the rest of my life, because I’ll most likely never let it go. I’ll definitely never forget it, and I’ll probably never forgive myself for it. I will literally be tormented by this until I die.
Here’s what happened.
I was working and I was on a delivery. I had to go to a hotel for this particular delivery. The hotel, one I will not name, is a very popular and family oriented hotel. They give my company a lot of business and I am delivering there all the time. On this particular day the hotel was completely booked solid and there were a lot of people standing around outside. All families, of course, and a lot of kids.
They were mostly standing by the main entrance, which is where I was headed, as always, for my delivery. On my way there I was headed up the main drive which is long and runs most of the length of the hotel. It goes up to the main entrance and then circles back around to itself. The problem that I’ve always had with this drive is, when it circles back around to itself there are no stop or yield signs for either direction and I’ve almost been in several accidents there because of it. If you’re headed to the main entrance you obviously assume you have the right of way. When you circle around, you quite clearly have the right of way. Once again, because there are no signs there.
On this particular day I was just getting to the part where the main drive reconnects with itself when a minivan came around, headed right for me. In a single solitary second that changed my life forever, the minivan came to an abrupt stop and the driver honked at me, and I, with my window down, gave him the middle finger.
It was a knee-jerk reaction. Most likely on both accounts. I’m sure the driver of the minivan hit his horn as an involuntary reaction to seeing me there, all of a sudden, in his path. And me giving him the bird was a complete involuntary reaction to his honking at me.
Here’s the first of the problems. Well, that was the first of the problems. Here’s another. Despite what I say or do on here, that isn’t me at all. I don’t give people the middle finger. I just don’t. I don’t know who it was that gave that man the middle finger, but it wasn’t me. And I hate the person who did it.
The next problem is, I was wearing my work shirt and hat, and I had a car topper on my car that boldly announced where I work and the phone number to the business.
The next problem is, he had his wife and two children (I think there were two children) in the car with him. And they all saw me flash them the bird. Neither he or his wife should have seen it, because it shouldn’t have happened at all. But his children absolutely shouldn’t have seen it, at all, ever. I regret the adults seeing it, but I can’t get over his children seeing it. I can’t forgive myself for that.
Again, I have no idea who that was who did it, because that wasn’t me. I don’t do that. I have no idea where it came from.
The last problem is, there were a whole bunch of other families standing around who could have seen it. I don’t think they did, we were far enough away from them with plenty in between us to block the view, but still, someone else could have seen it.
As it happened I was surprised and shocked. At the finger. It had to be the one in control, because I obviously was not. I also knew this was going to be a huge issue, because I was broadcasting my employer and how to get in touch with them, and I was only seconds away from parking and getting out of my vehicle. What did my finger think was going to happen? They were going to drive away and not say anything? Was my finger trying to get my ass kicked?
Honestly if the father decided to beat the shit out of me in front of his family and everybody else, I would have let him and I wouldn’t have fought back. Because I deserved it. But he was a better man than me, especially on that day, because he didn’t kick my ass when he quite clearly should have. And even now with the way I feel about the situation, I WISH he would have. Because I feel like I deserved it.
I saw him pull up behind me and we both parked. I didn’t wait to get out of my car. He didn’t either. He asked me what the hell I was doing, accused me of flying up the main drive (I actually was going the speed limit posted, but whatever), and pointed out that his children saw that.
Unfortunately I was still shocked at what had happened and I couldn’t say what I wanted to say, or what I needed to say. But I did get out an apology and I tried to make it as sincere as I could. I told him I had no idea what happened and that I know what I did was wrong and that I was very sorry his children had to see that.
And I meant every word.
Suddenly his wife jumps out of the minivan and starts to yell, because of course she had to get in the middle of it. While justified, it was completely unnecessary because her husband had it under control. She said something about how if I knew what I did was wrong and I responded with something like “Yes, and that’s why I’m apologizing to your husband about it.” And it might have come out a little harsh towards her, because uh, fucking really? Did you have to jump out and get your two cents in? I then apologized to them both again for what I had done and I went inside the hotel to deliver my order.
Once I was done, I got back in my car and called my boss to tell him that someone might call to complain and to give my side of the story which was exactly what I just said here, and of course I took all the blame. He said the man had already called and suggested I BE FIRED for what I did. That’s real forgiveness there. It made me so happy that I apologized. Apparently apologies aren’t worth shit nowadays. So why fucking bother, right?
Never mind that I’ve been with the company almost a year and this is my first incident of any kind. Never mind that it was a mistake and I apologized for it. Never mind that I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Never mind that worse things have and could have happened… I should have been fired for that.
I was told by my boss that because of company policy I was to be given a verbal warning, because it was my first incident. I didn’t even have to be given that. I knew I fucked up. I honestly thought I should be fired, or at the very least sent home for the night. But he kept me on all night and I finished my shift.
The kicker is, I still think about it. I still see that hotel on almost a daily basis. I still make that same drive and I still pass by where it happened and I still think about it happening as I pass by and I still make a face every time I think about my hand shooting out of the window. And I still feel like I’m going to vomit immediately after making that face. Because it literally makes me feel like shit. Each and every time I relive it, which is at least once a day, every day.
I’ve made that face numerous times just typing this up.
I feel like I could vomit right now.
I saw the man’s phone number on the caller ID at my work and I thought of calling him and apologizing again. Sometimes I wish I had, sometimes I’m glad I hadn’t. Regardless, I hope he and his family, especially his children, don’t think about it anymore. I hope it’s buried in the past for them, never to return.
But a part of me wishes they knew how I felt about it. It wouldn’t make me feel better, but I would like for them to know just how terrible I feel about it, and just how sorry I am for doing it.
I know I’m not perfect, but I try to be a decent human being to others. I have no idea who that person was that day, because it wasn’t me, and I hope I never see him again. I hope nobody ever sees him again.
I guess my point in writing this is simply to get it off my chest. It has been weighing me down something terrible since it happened. And it will continue to do so, I’m sure of it. But this is just a way for me to publicly (in a way) humiliate myself (I guess) to bring shame to myself, and to let all of you know just what a fuck up I was that day. I don’t feel like I should have lost my job over it, but I do feel like I got off too easy over it. Maybe not… as I said, it will haunt me for the rest of my life, guaranteed.