When Keeping it real goes wrong

MS NBC

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I am really glad that Jessica Hall got off on probation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the case, Hall was slogging through horrible traffic when she was cut off. Twice.

MSNBC tells the story: “On a sticky day in July, Hall was driving north on Interstate 95 with her children and her pregnant sister. Traffic had slowed to a crawl when, she said, another car cut her off twice, once causing her to swerve onto the shoulder. Angered, she flung a McDonald’s cup of ice into the other car, where it flew across the driver and landed all over his girlfriend. The couple said they hadn’t even noticed Hall’s car until the cup landed.”

She was totally wrong for actually throwing the cup, but good grief, I have been in that situation and I know how that feels. My hands have itched to hurl something at an inconsiderate driver more than once before.

Maybe it’s because I live in the worst road rage city in the country. Seriously, if I was ever filmed for that now-defunct VH-1 show Motormouth, y’all would think I was crazy. Drivers here have absolutely no consideration for each other. My route to work every day can take me as long as an hour, from the suburbs into downtown. Almost every day I get frustrated by drivers who seem to make a game of zig-zagging through morning traffic, follow me too closely, go 25 miles an hour because they’re talking on their cell phones, then switch into my lane without an indicator. And believe me, I curse, I honk my horn, I respond with anger. So when I read about Jessica Hall — just like Chris Rock said about OJ Simpson — I’m not saying she should have thrown the cup, but I understand. There but for the grace of God, go I.

Then I read about her life and the whole thing hit home even more: “Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., is a mother of three and her husband is serving his third tour in Iraq. Speaking to the Post before the judge’s decision, she said she has cried every day she has spent locked up in jail. Planning to go to nursing school, she said she wonders what job she will be able to get once potential employers do a background check. “Now people are going to see me as an angry, road rage, convicted felon. And it really upsets me,” she told the newspaper. “I must have been wrong… but seriously, God. Lesson learned. Lesson learned is one hour in this place.”

My heart goes out to her.

She is so lucky to have gotten off so easy. She is so lucky that things turned out as they did. That couple could easily have swerved off the road and gotten into an accident because of her impulsive anger. Or she could have messed with the wrong person. My mother-in-law once had a man pull a knife on her because she honked at him. Another time, my brother-in-law was driving in Chicago. He was stopped at a light with a friend, and they were laughing at a joke. Apparently the man in the car next to theirs assumed that they were laughing at him for some reason, and he threatened them with a gun. In both incidents my in-laws got away unscathed but shaken. The lesson I’ve learned from their experience is, you never know who you’re flipping off in the next lane. As my dad (often) says, “there are mad people everywhere.”

For me, the so-called McMissile offers a valuable reminder. I will try harder to restrain my road rage — perhaps changing my current ride-to-work mix will help. (On a side note, so good to hear Andre 3000 rapping again on that remix!)

After being locked up since January 4, I’m sure that Jessica Hall has learned her lesson. My one question is — did the jerk who cut her off twice in traffic learn anything? Will he become a more considerate person from the experience? I have a sinking feeling that him and his girlfriend are still on the road, obliviously to the other drivers around them. Who knows, I may have driven past them on the way to work today.

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Comments

  1. When I read this story the other day I was really saddened & shock from disbelief. I am happy to hear that sheis on her way home to her family

  2. DeltaGirl6 says:

    I live in VA, so this was all over our news. They spoke with the guy who cut her off and he even said that the punishment was extreme. He said that he never imagined that the system would take it that far, he was only thinking she would get a fine. But that area in VA is very hard on road ragers because a few years ago some teens were killed when someone threw eggs at the car they were riding in causing accident.

  3. You must’ve been reading my mind! I have had the worst road rage lately. Inconsiderate people are one of my pet peeves, and when you put them in a car/truck/SUV – aaaargh! I had to restrain myself from jumping out of my car just last night. I’ve been praying about it – like you said, you never know how crazy the other person is. I’m really glad Ms. Hall was released. We’ve got murderers/dope dealers/etc. walking around free and they wanted to lock this woman up for that long? Please!

  4. Thanks for the local perspective, Deltagirl6! I hope that guy is a better driver because of all of this. And Nerd Girl, it drives me crazy! It’s always a jerk in a Hummer or some bia in a Jaguar or Mercedes, yakking on their celly. I’ve been doing a mental survey about the worst and most typical Miami offenders. It’s gotten to the point where, if someone in a Mercedes switches into my lane in front of me, I usually try to switch out. ESPECIALLY if they’re on a cell phone. Grrrr!

  5. Afrobella, PLEASE do not get me started about Miami drivers. No lie, The last time I was down there visiting my in-laws some crazy man tailgated us for half-a-mile and when we finally came to a stop light he cursed at us in creole and then flashed a cutlass. Then he sped off cutting us off in the process. I guess we were driving too cautiously for him.

  6. I’ll share with you a funny story that happened to me last night. It was somewhat late and I don’t have the best vision at night, so I’m extra cautious when driving around my city, so I’m moving along at the speed limit(probably a lil more) and I notice a car getting closer on my tail. My motto if I’m going to slow for you go around. So we get to point that we have to make this really sharp turn and the car behind me blows so I blow back. I looked in my mirror and it was the police. I held my breath for a minute. But he didn’t do anything.

  7. That is some bull crap… Being in jail for a month for a cup of ice… I guess the police don’t have better things to tend to. We all do some stupid ish.
    She just got caught. Even though we will admit we have had road rage before. No one wants to admit the extremely stupid thing they did on the road the could of got them in BIG TROUBLE,not even me:)

  8. JUstMYwOrD says:

    I think everybody knows the feeling of anger that mounts from “almost” being hit or thrown off the road by a careless and irresponsible driver. That rage only deepens if you have that experience with your children in the car with you! I know she was wrong, and I’m glad she’s learned her lesson, that two wrongs don’t make a right. But I hope she can put the situation behind her now that she’s going back to her family. She mentioned her feelings about people seeing her as a road raged convicted felon, and I feel her, but I hope she doesn’t give presence to those negative emotions, cause they only give way to more negativity, and she’s been blessed. The truth is she could have hurt someone just because they almost hurt her, and if God wanted to teach her that’s not His way, even if it looks like the other party is relishing in the fact they got her in trouble, God is fair. She’ll be better for the lesson and those other people if they don’t take caution, will get their just deserts too.

  9. Uhh, Miami may be the second worst road rage city; LA is the first. Remember, at one point, there was a freeway shooting almost every other day! I’ve driven in a dozen major cities throughout the US, from the east & west coast to several points in between, and nowhere are the drivers more inconsiderate than here. We are a car city, so everyone is always pushing wayyyy beyond the speed limit just to be seen, no matter the weather. We’re also “showtown” so everyone is always on their cellys…at times, people seem to forget that they’re driving!!! Just today a woman stops her Jag in the middle of the street, THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET, to dial a number on her phone. It’s really ridiculous here and in about two years, the law prohibiting cell phone use without a handsfree device will go into effect. Regardless, people will still be distracted and the problem will only get worse. Road rage is no joke and we’ve all had it at some point. *shaking head* she stopped in THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!!!!

  10. jerseybred says:

    This is a hard way to learn a lesson, hopefully all can learn from this…

  11. jerseybred says:

    This is a hard way to learn a lesson, hopefully all can learn from this…

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