This is certainly a familiar scenario to those of us in Central New York these past days.  Picture driving through a parking lot with the falling snow blowing by; cold, damp and uncomfortable for those outside. A person is trudging through the slop and reaches a driving lane, but not a crosswalk, just as a vehicle approaches. Who should have the right of way? One could argue the car because the person's not in marked space which gives them priority. But in the real world, in the spirit of being nice, who wouldn't let the pedestrian go first?

I've driven that scenario twice as of late. The first time, the person ahead of me continued driving, leaving the person walking in the cold, but also covered with a splash of slop. The second time I was the driver. I stopped, waved the person to walk on. I was then alerted, by loud honking, of the dissatisfaction of the driver behind me.

The other drivers were not in first-responder vehicles. I wondered, what could be so important that a warm and dry person not allow someone walking outside an opportunity to get inside? Does less than ten seconds make a big difference in most lives? In a parking lot? What is the loss, or perhaps gain, to the driver being kind to the person standing in bad weather?

According to the book  The Five Side-effects of Kindness: This Book Will Make You Feel Better, Be Happier & Live Longer by David Hamilton, PhD., there really are many benefits. Of course, the stranger who gets out of the bad weather benefits. But Hamilton claims the driver who gives the stranger the right of way gains personal benefits as well.  How often does life give us the opportunity for a genuine win-win scenario?

A reminder, there are marked crosswalks in the TAY parking lot. If you're driving and someone's approaching or in the crosswalk, or just walking through the lot, please give them the right-of-way. 

Rabbi Paul Drazen
(315) 445 - 0002 x121
450 Kimber Road
Syracuse, NY 13224
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