*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
My mother was driving beneath an overpass when a pigeon came out of nowhere and hit her windshield. The poor bird fell to the ground, lifeless.
The man driving behind my mother honked his horn angrily. The sound of his repeated honks echoed beneath the overpass.
My mother already felt shaken up by the impact of the bird striking her windshield. The motorist honking his car horn behind her certainly wasn't helping matters. She couldn't wait to get away from the angry driver and go home.
Several blocks, and multiple turns later, my mother realized the man was still driving behind her. She hoped it was a coincidence, but the expression on the man's face told her that wasn't the case.
Every time my mother stopped at a stop sign or a red light, the man would lean out of his driver's side window and call out, "I saw what you did. Justice for pigeons. Justice for pigeons."
When my mother pulled up to our house, she had to put her car in park and get out to pull open the gate that kept strangers out of the driveway.
The man pulled up beside her and continued his tirade. "I saw what you did. Justice for pigeons. Justice for pigeons," he chanted.
My mother turned to glance at him. That was a big mistake.
"You didn't even get out of your car to check on the pigeon and see if it needed help," the man said. He shouted until my mother was safely inside the yard. Fortunately, he didn't follow her onto private property.
"Check on the pigeon to see if it needed help? Did this guy want me to give the bird CPR or something?" my mother asked me. "I felt baffled. I locked my car in the garage, shut the gate, and scurried inside the house, but I expected the authorities to come to my home and question me... all over a pigeon. Fortunately, that didn't happen."
Now, whenever my mother drives beneath an overpass or sees a pigeon, she has an anxiety attack. It's easy to feel helpless when something bad happens, especially if we can't do anything to change the situation. In the case of my mother and the angry driver, it was frustrating for both parties involved. The driver felt that my mother should have helped the pigeon and my mother felt frustrated by his repeated honks and accusations.
There was no excuse for the man following my mother home, no matter how upset he felt at the loss of that pigeon. Although my mother couldn't have done anything to avoid hitting the pigeon, she has since become extra careful around them. She knows that even though accidents happen, it's important to be vigilant and do what she can to prevent them from happening again.
"I'm extra careful around pigeons and overpasses now," she told me, "even though there was nothing I could have done to avoid that pigeon. That pigeon hit me, not the other way around."
Has anyone ever followed you home? Comments are welcome.