“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.”

Mac McCleary

Carlos was the kind of guy who could tell you the make, model, and year of a car just by hearing its engine purr from a mile away. His pride and joy was a 1988 Formula 5-speed Fiero, which he had lovingly refurbished. To say he was a car guy would be an understatement. Carlos was a car guru.

One sunny afternoon, as we cruised down the boulevard with the Fiero’s engine humming a tune only Carlos could truly appreciate, he turned to me with a glint in his eye. “You know,” he began, his fingers caressing the leather-wrapped steering wheel, “I firmly believe I’d never get into an accident if I’m always vigilant.”

I raised an eyebrow, skeptical. “Never? That’s a bold claim, Carlos.”

He nodded, confidence unwavering. “Vigilance is the key. Always be aware, always be ready.”

While I wasn’t entirely convinced by Carlos’s claim, it did get the gears in my head turning (though not as smoothly as the gears in his Fiero). If we approached driving with the same level of care and attention that Carlos gave to his beloved car, wouldn’t the roads be a safer, more harmonious place?

This thought led me to the golden rule of driving: Treat other drivers how you’d like to be treated. If Carlos’s vigilance was about avoiding accidents, then the golden rule was about creating a positive driving environment. Let someone merge during rush hour, because you’d want the same. Don’t tailgate, because you wouldn’t want to be tailgated. And always, always use your turn signal, because we’re not all mind readers.

We’re all participants in the grand ballet of traffic, each with our own destinations and soundtracks (Carlos’s was a mix of 80s rock and car-themed podcasts). But if we remember that behind every steering wheel is another person, with their own stories and Carlos-like passions, we might just make the journey more pleasant for everyone.

So, the next time you’re on the road, channel a bit of Carlos’s vigilance and sprinkle in some golden rule kindness. Because, whether in a refurbished Fiero or a rusty old van, we’re all just trying to get to our destination safely and with a smile.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.