December 29, 2014

An Open Letter to Drivers Who Don’t Stop for Pedestrians.


Dear Driver Who Didn’t Stop,

Two questions: One, where are you going in such a hurry that you can’t spare 30 seconds to let me, my big orange stroller and little white dog cross the crosswalk?

Two, aren’t you already there?

Aren’t we all already there, where we want to get to? It might not seem like it in the moment, on our way to the most important place in the world, because in our hurry we forget that simple profundity: that we are already there, meaning here.

The only place we’ll ever be even if we lived a thousand years is Here, and we’ll only ever be Here Now.

Sure, we’ll travel into the future and visit the past in our minds, similar to how our minds visit unreal places in our dreams; but the truth of the matter is we’re actually only ever Here Now. Which means we’re already there, where we think we’re going.

But I digress.

The reason I’m writing is to ask you to stop for me the next time you see me mid-crosswalk, or even when you see me waiting, two feet in the crosswalk. I know you have the choice to stop because I see you glance out of the corner of your eye at me and my caravan. Still, you deliberately drive past me without stopping unless maybe there’s a cop nearby or a big sign that says, “Stop for pedestrians. It’s the law.”

I know this because sometimes I am you. Sometimes I am the driver on my way to the most important place in the world without 30 seconds to spare. Sometimes I am the person who’s so busy that I can’t pause to allow someone their right of way. Sometimes I am the mindless, harried mother who has forgotten I’m already there, who has forgotten that when I don’t stop I miss a precious 30 seconds to pause and re-enter my present moment, to be inspired by the person crossing in front of me enjoying life at the speed of walking instead of the speed of driving.

To tell you the truth, this letter’s been a longtime coming. I didn’t care so much when you didn’t stop for me ten years ago when I was crossing the street alone, because I could run if I needed to avoid getting hit.

It didn’t strike me as too odd when you didn’t stop for me and my little white dog that I adopted a few years later, although I did think, Really? Who doesn’t have a soft spot for dogs?

When it became my husband and me and our little white dog I would get a little huffy-puffy because we are a hard group to miss even if you do have solving the world’s problems on your mind.

At eight months pregnant, clearly showing and more waddling than walking, I was a little concerned (read: disturbed) at the blatant disregard I was witnessing not just for my life, but the unborn life I carried.

Then we had our little bundle of joy and went for our first walk a few days after he was born. You raced by me (sometimes I swear you even sped up), and that’s when I got mad. Mad at you, mad at me, mad at us. Mad at how unconscious we can become when we get behind the wheel.

Every time you look at me and choose to keep driving past, to keep breaking the law, I get mad. Eventually I cross the street, and then I get sad. Sad that I can’t trust you to treat my life and the lives of my loved ones as the fragile, priceless things that they are. Sad that we can’t use that 30 seconds to pause and soak in the moment we are in and to feel grateful to the Universe for granting us these 30 seconds to pause, reconnect and remember we are all One.

It’s me crossing the crosswalk today, but tomorrow it will be you. I will stop for you. I will pause for you because how we do anything is how we do everything. How I treat you in the crosswalk is how I treat you in person. So I will treat you with respect, consideration, gratitude, humanity and patience.

Won’t you do the same for me?

Gratefully yours,



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Author: Monique Minahan

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Cyron/Flickr

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Monique Minahan