When I was a young teacher, there was a newsagent’s shop across the road from the school. The road was busy, so I knew that if I crossed without care, there was a chance of being struck by a vehicle. But I was often in need of a packet of cigarettes or a newspaper, so I darted across and back as the cars whizzed past me.
Then one day my luck ran out and I got hit by a car. I was taken to hospital, where they found I’d been lucky – a broken arm and a badly-bruised knee was all I’d suffered. When I got out of hospital I spoke at the school assembly. “Don’t be afraid of the traffic” I told the pupils. “I know it’s busy and dangerous, but get out there and cross. That’s what I did. Don’t let traffic dictate your life.”
The headmaster took the microphone after me and pointed out that in the past five years, four pupils from the school had been injured and one killed. Like me, none of them had used the pedestrian crossing just up the street.
At the end of the year the headmaster told me my services were no longer required. A small group of pupils, when they heard this, demonstrated against my dismissal. The majority of the pupils and staff said they were partly relieved but mainly overjoyed to see me go.