It was a busy night at RC and I was teamed up with my co-worker Laurie. Laurie has never been one to share her life with anyone and usually strays from topics about her family, for a good reason. It was late when we reached our last pick up destination, about three in the morning. Laurie left the Smart Car, shook our customer's hand and got into his little blue Mazda. A good 20 minutes into our journey, I noticed Laurie driving over the speed limit. I too began to speed to keep up, not wanting to lose sight of the Mazda. As she started creeping up to 120 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, I began to worry. I honked my horn to signal that I refused to keep up to her at such a high speed. She slowed down and began driving at a reasonable speed again.
Twenty minutes later, we reached the home of the owner of the blue Mazda. Laurie was out in a matter of seconds. She slammed the door and bee-lined to where I was pulled over in the Smart Car. I saw the man leave the passenger seat slowly. He looked back at her. Even in the dark I could tell he looked harmless and bewildered, ashamed even. Laurie got in the car and we drove off.
I immediately asked her what happened since it was obvious that something was wrong. Her fists were tight, her teeth were clenched, and she ,was a lot more quiet than usual. She shook her head. She wasn’t ready to share. We drove back to the office in silence. I parked in front of the RC building and as I went to open my door Laurie began to share what had happened.
“He insulted my brother,” she said quietly.
I didn’t know much about her family —still don’t— but I knew that her brother had died in an unfortunate accident. I wasn't sure of the details until she continued.
“Mr. Groube [the customer in the blue Mazda] was telling me about his new job as a safety supervisor at a construction company. He was saying how the previous supervisor was fired after some idiot stood between two trucks and got mashed between them.” She paused. I knew what was coming.
“I wasn’t going to say anything, but he started going into detail about what a mess it was after. I didn’t want to hear it. I had to stop him so I informed the bastard that it was my brother that stood between the two trucks and died that day.”
We sat in the car in silence. I didn’t know what to say. I turned to her and she could see the horror in my eyes. She must have, because she gave me a comforting smile as if I were the victim. I told her how sorry I was. It was all I could say.
I now understand why Laurie has always been so quiet about her family. I will never forget that incident and I will always be conscious of the information I tell acquaintances. I’m sure the man in the little blue Mazda will never forget either.