Directing Traffic

By Mark Hopper

My wife taught sixth grade at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar California. She loved her students and they loved her too. She made learning fun and helped students succeed.

One of the worst things about teaching at Chaparral was the volume of traffic at the beginning and end of each school day. Like most teachers Jeanne got to school early to avoid the crush of cars.

When I was driving to my office one day I noticed the traffic light near Jeanne’s school was out. There were no flashing red lights either. Most people were stopping but some were not. Clearly this was a dangerous situation. There was a long line of southbound cars trying to turn on to the street leading to the school. There were also a long line of cars on the residential street trying to get away from the school after they had dropped off their students.

But the cars going northbound lane of Diamond Bar Blvd were not stopping. They drove right through the intersection without slowing or stopping. It seemed like there would be an accident at any moment.

I pulled over on the side street and got out of my car. I carefully walked out into to the middle of the intersection and motioned for all of the approaching cars to stop. Then I began to direct traffic on all four sides of the intersection. I would allow 10-15 cars to go one way and did the same with the traffic going the opposite way. I also alternated the cars making left turns. Gradually traffic improved and accidents were avoided.

Eventually a motorcycle officer arrived on the scene. I asked him if he wanted to take over but he told me I was doing a pretty good job. One of my wife’s students ran into her classroom to report that her husband was out in the middle of Diamond Bar Blvd directing traffic. She didn’t believe him at first but several other students confirmed his story.

Finally the police officer did take over and I went on to work. It was a crazy situation but thankfully no one was hurt. There is a passage in the Bible in Luke chapter 15 about a Good Samaritan who stopped to help a stranger who had been robbed and injured. Let me encourage you to follow his example and be willing to stop and help when you face an unexpected situation. You may save a life or prevent serious injury to a stranger. You will be glad you did and they will too. 

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