How We Deal With Road Rage

I sometimes read Quora to find out where job seekers’ heads are at and to read stories of human kindness, particularly among strangers.

One such story involved a woman’s victory over road rage.

Something happened out there on the road, and a man pulled in next to her in the parking lot and began yelling at her.

Although she hadn’t done anything wrong, or perhaps because she hadn’t done anything wrong, she apologized. She wasn’t trying to win the fight; she was attempting to deescalate it. It was a conscious choice.

Later (and I don’t even know if this part is true, but who really cares), the man left a note on her car that said he’d been through a lot and was sorry for yelling. Honestly, though this is a nice happy ending and we all wish for nice happy endings, I think the note takes away from the more important message: that we can all beat anger.

Apparently, that’s not how a lot of people in the forum felt.

Nutjob deserves a punch in the face.
I would have taken a pipe to his head.
He does that to me, he’d regret it.
You should have called the cops.
The minute he followed you, he crossed a line.


Now, I can see what we’re up against.

Righteous anger. Justified hate: the most dangerous of our emotions, because it not only puts the pipe in our hands but compliments us after we swing.

This woman, rather than beating the man, beat her own anger. And, in doing so, created the possibility for the man to beat his. That is to be celebrated.

Compassion is not a weakness. Apologies are not submissive; they’re courageous.

We, as humans, only evolve in one direction: from anger to kindness, from alienation to understanding, from aggression to forgiveness.

Never the other way around.