Stop means stop.

Everything happens for a reason. Or so I’ve heard. I just can’t figure out why.

Anyway, a while back, I was driving in Lincoln Park on Chicago’s north side. It was dark and it was raining, which meant I couldn’t see the road very well. With my impaired visibility, combined with my occasional inattentiveness, I didn’t see a stop sign on a major street as pedestrians crossed the street. They assumed that I would stop at the stop sign. Well, I didn’t apply my foot to the brake until I saw a pedestrian directly in front of my car. I would have hit him if he wouldn’t have jumped back! We both realized that I almost ran him over. He started swearing at me and beating the hood of my car with his umbrella.

Suddenly, we look at each other’s faces in recognition. We actually know each other. “Greg!” I shout. And he stops beating my car. “Dave?” he asks in disbelief. I open my car door and he gets in. I had not seen Greg Rubenstein in about five years because he moved to Oklahoma where his company had transferred him. We used to do the print layout together for the  CARA’s magazine The Finish Line and we both ran for the University of Chicago Track Club.

He apologized for denting my hood and I apologized for almost running him over and leaving him a quadriplegic. I reminded Greg that the last time we met was for dinner at a restaurant and that he had treated, so I owed him a dinner. Just by chance, this incident occurred at dinner time, so we went out to eat.

We were both impressed by our fortuitous encounter and how it was such a coincidence. So he told me about another recent coincidence in his life; apparently his life is full of coincidences (and so is mine!). He traveled to Europe on business. He was at Heathrow Airport when someone bumped into him from behind. He soon realized that his wallet was missing! So chases the man who bumped into him. Since Greg was a runner, he’s closing in on the thief. Greg is yelling, “Stop him! He stole my wallet!” A man coming from the opposite direction tackles the pickpocket. They both hold the thief down until airport security shows up. When Greg and the Good Samaritan get a good look at each other, the man says, “Greg you are always getting in trouble!” They went to high school together.