“On Saturday night, the taxi my husband and I were travelling in was involved in a car accident. The accident occurred on a busy road outside an inner-Sydney sporting venue and our taxi driver was not at fault. The taxi was badly damaged and would no longer start and the driver’s door was so buckled he was trapped in the car. The other vehicle involved in the accident pulled over further up the road and its driver was unhurt. Several witnesses offered their details and one telephoned emergency services.
My husband and I were shaken, but not injured. As the accident was blocking one of two lanes of traffic, my husband started guiding oncoming cars around the stricken taxi, while I stayed with the trapped driver who was going into shock. This was when things really started getting interesting.
In the time it took emergency services to arrive at the scene, my husband faced a barrage of abuse from the drivers he was guiding around what was obviously a car accident. One driver abused him because the crash site was in front of his house and was blocking where he wanted to park his car. The same driver returned to abuse my husband (after parking his car around the corner), physically threatening him while ordering him to “move the f*cking taxi from outside his house”. My husband’s very tempered response was “what part of car accident don’t you understand?”
But there’s more. Sometime after the accident, the driver of the other vehicle approached the taxi to swap details. I helped the taxi driver take notes, as he was in shock and was having difficulty writing. He told me he had been driving taxis in Australia for 40 years and had never had an accident. He was a disabled driver. He had a foreign accent.
The driver of the other vehicle soon started telling me what he thought of the taxi driver who “can’t even speak English” – the same taxi driver who was trapped inside his vehicle and later spent the night in hospital. My response was less than tempered.
My husband and I were dismayed by so many peoples’ response to the car accident – their impatience and abusiveness was appalling in what was an emergency situation. And the driver of the other vehicle in the accident – his bigotry was shocking at a time when remorse and concern were called for.
When did some people lose their compassion for others? And when did prejudice outweigh common decency? Where is the love?”