Just this morning my wife had an unfortunate incident on a road near our home. The W Road down the mountain is a winding road with a good incline. She was following a truck loaded with stuff going slower than the speed limit. She remained about 3 car-lengths behind through the narrow curves. On one of the few straight-aways the truck put on his blinker and pulled to the shoulder as much as he could and slowed down even more as if he were wanting her to pass. She hesitated to make sure, he slowed even more so that’s what she believed he wanted her to do, so then she passed safely.
Upon reaching the truck and ready to wave a “thank you,” she was greeted with an angry man rolled down his window and started yelling obscenities. As much as he didn’t understand what she was doing or his actions miscommunicated to her to pass is there any real reason for this anger at a total stranger? What if she had been going to the hospital with a sick or injured child? My wife is the kindest, most loving and caring person you would ever meet. My response, upon first hearing this and to know that she was shaken from this event was to first lash out. “What an asshole! What’s his fuckin’ problem?” How hard must it be to go through life at that…. such anger at 10am. To live in that anger must be hell. But that’s not the end of the story, not the end of this incident.
She then said to me, “You know your firefighter license plate? The one on your car?” I replied, “yes.” She then continued, “He had that same plate. The same firefighter plate as you.” Then my heart sunk. This was one of my brothers acting like this. Representing all of us brothers and sisters bound together in the fire service. This action is a stain on all of us. We are better than this. We represent our departments, our brotherhood and the Maltese cross we bear.
When we wear a shirt, jacket, hat or vehicle decal, we represent something larger than us. A higher set of standards that meets our calling to help. Our actions speak to the public and our communities whether on or off duty. Be the high standard the public expects. Be the high standard that honors the brotherhood.