Q A strange thing happened recently, and I wonder if you have any insights.
My son and I were entering the freeway at Stevens Creek Boulevard at Valley Fair. Our lane would take us to Interstate 280, while the left lane would take us onto 880.
Right where the two lanes split, a black SUV apparently decided it was in the wrong lane and suddenly pulled in front of me without signaling, causing me to apply first my brakes, and then my horn. There was insufficient room between me and the car in front, and the SUV had to immediately apply its brakes to make the horseshoe turn. I came within a few feet of its rear end. After tooting my horn in frustration, the SUV came nearly to a stop to "punish" me, slowing 10 mph for about 10 seconds.
As we merged onto 280, the SUV continued to drive slowly, apparently to encourage me to pass. When I did, the driver of the SUV stuck her hand out the window to show me what appeared to be a shiny policeman's badge and shouted something.
Not knowing what I was supposed to make of this, I continued driving. The driver of the SUV then made a show of "tailing me," and then passing me holding her cellphone up as if videotaping me. She drove parallel to me while simultaneously looking at me and talking into her phone, as if reporting me. After several minutes of this, she sped up and headed up the road.
What are the rules here? Was I supposed to pull over when the SUV driver displayed a badge? Would police want more information on the SUV driver? I have a pretty clear description of her, as well as photos taken by my son.
A No way was this a cop. Police officers would not slam on their brakes in front of you, and they would have turned on emergency lights if they wanted to pull you over.
You were right to keep on driving and have your son photograph this road bully. If you are going to pull over, do so in a public place -- a gas station or a fire or police station.
Q We traveled to Kings Canyon on Highway 180, when one tire on our trailer suddenly deflated. It was in the middle of nowhere.
Luckily, not far away there was a fruit stand where Jack, an employee, offered us his phone to call AAA. But AAA refused, saying that it was not covered by our insurance.
Then Jack got on the phone for 45 minutes, persuading AAA to help. Finally they said yes.
In the meantime a young couple stopped to buy some fruit. The young man offered his help to fix the problem. In five minutes the tire was changed.
We offered to pay for the young couple's purchase, but they said that Jack gave them the fruit for free for the help they offered us. When we wanted to compensate Jack for the fruit, he refused, saying: "I want you to pay it forward." Please, place this in your column. All these people made our day.
Marty and Mira Kruglikov
A I love these "pay it forward" stories. They were once so common on the state toll bridges when tolls were just a dollar or two. A driver would give the toll taker an extra buck to pay for the car behind. I've heard of others "paying it forward" at drive-through places.
Do you have a "pay it forward" story to share?