A close shave with a skateboard,

August 20th, 2011

We had an incident at a petrol station which could easily have turned nasty but which we managed to smooth over and avoid any conflict.

I was trying to fill up with petrol (bearing in mind our close shave with lack of petrol recently). This was not as easy as it might sound as it was self-service and not accepting cards, so a little challenging anyway. I managed to put a bit of petrol in the car and was just driving off when there was a bit of a crunching sound. Parked in front of my car (and unbeknown to me) was a sort of motorised skateboard thing. At first I had no idea what it was but people were frantically telling me to stop so I did. The skateboard was by this time firmly wedged under the car.

The person who I assumed was the owner of the skateboard was understandably concerned and somewhat angry. His reaction was even more understandable when we discovered that he had borrowed it from a friend. Eventually, with a bit of careful manoeuvring we managed to free the skateboard with no apparent damage and we all parted amicably.

It could however have been very different. It did help that the person concerned spoke reasonably good English. However, he was initially angry and shouting and clearly thought that it was all my fault. I however remained remarkably calm (on the exterior) and resisted the temptation to wade in with some expression as to how stupid he had been to park it where he did. I did express this opinion at a later stage but calmly and by way of explanation as to how I had not seen the skateboard which he then acknowledged. I am sure that my response helped to defuse the situation. By the time the skateboard was freed I don’t think there would have been a major problem even if it had been damaged as we were both by then calm and he had acknowledged to some degree that it was not my fault. I could of course be wrong but fortunately we will never know as both car and skateboard went on their respective ways unharmed.

This situation did illustrate how important it is to react calmly and in a way that does not immediately invite a defensive response as both parties will then take up entrenched and defensive positions. It also illustrates the importance in understanding each others respective positions and ensuring that this is communicated. Fortunately an international incident was avoided in this situation!

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One Response

  1. Dr Jonathan Deacon says:

    Enjoy the tales – keep it going…but you should have bought a VW camper!

    Jonathan Deacon

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