A Good Deed
Thursday 07-22-2010 9:53am PT
We were driving across the Bay Bridge from Oakland to San Francisco to see Paul McCartney on my birthday July 10, just a few weeks ago. It's usually a mess getting up to the toll plaza. We didn't have a FASTRACK pass yet (I bought one a few days ago) and things were confusing in the lanes. New laws had taken effect and the toll had just been raised. In addition to the higher fares, the car pool lane now cost $2.50 as well. The kicker is you have to have a FASTRACK transponder on your windshield or you can't use the carpool lane at all! There are no carpool cash lanes anymore. Yikes! This caused my wife and I considerable consternation.
Anyway, I had to cut across six lanes of heavy traffic to get to a cash lane. It was brutal. Traffic had slowed to a crawl, plus there was a certain amount of confusion about the change in tolls. In fact, people were freaking out.
I was just trying to get there without being crushed. After all, at the end of my ride- a Paul McCartney concert waited. All I had to do was get there. By the way, the next day I bought a FASTRACK pass so I wouldn't have to stop or slow down to pay a toll in the commuter lane. I used it last weekend when we went over to a Giants game. I've never used one before, but the first time we went through the toll booth a red light flashed, I hope it indicated that the device was working properly. A neighbor told me that he thought the damn thing was mounted too low on my Corvette and that maybe it couldn't be read. I hope not. All I need is more love mail from the DMV.
But I digress... Back to the toll booth.
So, after great conflagration and wringing of hands we finally made it to the cash lane. I should point out that this lane is moving at the speed of a snail with attention deficit disorder, and that cars are backed up to crack houses of east Oakland. It was in this rarefied atmosphere that our story takes place.
Tension were high, temperatures were rising, and tempers were short. In the cars behind and in front of us, people leaned on their horns like members of the South African Vuvuzela Glee Club.
Then along comes a blond woman in a black BMW, cautiously weaving her way across the treacherous white waters of the final half mile before the toll plaza. I could see the fear and terror in her eyes as she desperately tried to negotiate the last few lanes to safety. She was clearly in great distress, and nobody was going to let her in. She was trapped with her ass sticking out in the FASTRACK lane and her nose trying to inch its way forward into my lane. It was quite dangerous. People in the next lane were not slowing down, they just swerved to avoid her, blew their horns and gave the finger.
In a rare moment of chivalry, I graciously waved her in front of me. She was saved! So grateful was she that she waved profusely to me. When we got to the toll booth, she was directly in front of me. Little did I know, as we pulled up to the toll taker, that that woman had paid my toll! 6 BUCKS! Wow! I waved back, surprised at my good fortune. Good karma begets good karma... I guess. I just felt extra special good that day. She didn't know we were on our way to see McCartney or that it was my birthday! She was just being nice to a guy who let her in.
That's a true story. I hope she's out there listening, or maybe she'll read this- lady in the BMW- THANK YOU!