Vol.VIII No.X Pg.8
December 1971

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Does courtesy really pay? There are times when my faith in this old- fashioned virtue is sorely tested. As an example: while driving west from Albuquerque, I was about to pass a dual-trailer rig when I noticed a slow moving jalopy ahead of the big truck. I realized that my passing would force the truck driver to brake at a most undesirable time — just when he needed to be gaining speed for the next hill — so I held back, and waved the diesel on. That is courtesy!

Later, when I did pass the truck, the driver blew his air horn and waved his hand wildly; and I noticed that the truck belonged to a company for which a close friend of mine was driver. From his high perch he had obviously recognized me, and was saying, Welcome to Arizona! So, when I saw a convenient pull-off ahead, I signaled a stop and drove in. The big truck rumbled by — but not without another blast of horn and wave. Hmmm!

Well, I pulled back onto the highway, and caught the truck. Perhaps I had selected a poor spot for stopping the huge rig. Several miles further on the signs indicated an interstate rest stop — lots of room and facilities — so I passed, signaled, and again pulled off the highway. The big truck roared by without a toot. Of course! I should have realized!! My friend is very conscientious about company rules, and he will not park until he reaches a designated company stop. So, I pulled back onto the road and followed him for about 40 miles. When we came to a well-lighted truck stop my friend pulled in, and applied those big airbrakes, just as I had expected. Soon I was close beside him and hurried to greet my friend as he climbed from the elevated cab.

But he was not my friend! He was not even friendly!! With a hardness that indicated difficulty of control he asked, What do you mean by following me like this?? My friend was six-foot-three, and must have weighed about 180 pounds.

Well, I was nice to him. That is courtesy, you know. I explained the perfectly natural mistake, my high regard for the noble truck drivers, etc., and then asked, How come you blew your horn and waved to me?

Oh, that? And he laughed short and hard. Just thanking you, he said. Thats courtesy, you know!