Letters to the Editor

Not so neighborly

September 3, 2007


To the editor:

Friday morning, Aug. 31, I witnessed just how "neighborly" and "friendly" this town is. As I approached the intersection of Sixth and Monterey Way, I noticed a vehicle with its emergency flashers on in the left turn lane. I asked the girl inside if she needed help and her answer was a pleading yes. Apparently she was having electrical problems with her vehicle.

I parked and went to her aid, only to hear while crossing the street, the sounds of car horns blowing at her. I got to her vehicle, calmed her down and got the car moving again. Not one other "neighbor" even looked as if they would come to her aid. All they could do was sit in their vehicles, cell phones and/or Starbucks in hand, blowing their horns.

I don't know if this girl was a college student or a full-time resident, and it doesn't really matter. What mattered to me was getting her out of the intersection and calmed down. Apparently what mattered to her "neighbors" was that she get the hell out of their "oh so important" way and give them their way to speed down Sixth Street to their "oh so important" jobs. A two-minute delay was just too much for some.

I don't write this letter to toot my own horn, but if you see someone needing help don't toot yours. Get out of your car and help. Who knows, it could be your daughter, mother, wife, husband, son or "neighbor."

Robert Tyler,



Lonestar1 10 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for helping Robert. One small act is never waisted.

Sharon Roullins 10 years, 7 months ago

I feel your concern. I too have personally experienced a few injustices firsthand and I just chalk it up to ignorance on their part. My only concern is that I pray that they aren't wearing the other shoe one day and get upset when someone doesn't come to their aid.

kansas778 10 years, 7 months ago

Motorists are impatient and rude? Shocking I tell you, just shocking.

TheYetiSpeaks 10 years, 7 months ago

You know whats wrong with Lawrence?

People taking a small sample size and making an ASSumption that they represent every single person in Lawrence.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 7 months ago

One could take note that this occurred on the West side of town.....

sourpuss 10 years, 7 months ago

That is an interesting point, OnlyTheOne. When I was pushing my car to Don's Auto Shop over on Haskell, I was having a hard time with it, but multiple people jumped out of homes and their cars to help me push. Even the Garbage Men jumped off their truck and helped me. Everyone ws so great with their help!! East Lawrence: Our cars might not run, but at least we help each other push!

wn1127 10 years, 7 months ago

Oh, good grief! talk about making assumptions... West side people are rude and East side people are helpful??? ...just as ridiculous as any other stereotypes... people are individuals and make individual decisions, etc. I'm sorry more people didn't stop to help and I think it's really a shame that they were honking... maybe they didn't see the motorist in distress? I applaud the man who did help and suggest the "typing" be left out of it.

TheHeartlessBureaucrat 10 years, 7 months ago

Thank you, Robert, for assisting one of our neighbors. I agree that the people who responded with horns and rudeness were a bad reflection on our community. However, this is not a just local problem. I see it in every community.

I even see it in myself.

Humans get really focused on what they need at times. Sure, sometimes we're able to relax and see that the person driving "too slow" is just being careful. Sometimes that person who didn't use their turn signal just has a bulb out, or is maybe just isn't paying attention. But most of the time, we are reactive and therefore judgmental and quick to act.

When we slow down, breathe and take a moment to think, sometimes we see that the nuisance is actually just a person in need.


Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 7 months ago

One could take note that this occurred on the West side of town:..=

I was thinking the exact same thing. If this happened on the East side, not only would neighbors help move her car but they would also invite her into their homes for crack and Mad Dog 20/20.

classclown 10 years, 7 months ago

"maybe they didn't see the motorist in distress?"


The letter stated that the car had it's emergency flashers on. The letter writer obviously noticed.

Sometimes a driver gets caught daydreaming or doing something else when the light changes in which case a tap on the horn will get their attention and get things moving. However when you lean on your horn several times and the car in front still hasn't moved, then one should reasonably assume that said car is having a problem. Continually honking your horn thereafter (which I think some people equate to offering assistance) will not magically fix the problem and get the car moving again.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 years, 7 months ago

Mr Tyler, you are a true good samaritan, but there is a very good reason that a lot of folks will not stop to be a good neighbor especially if the person is a young woman or a child. You placed yourself in a very grave and dangerous situation. You had no idea of the mindset of this person and with the laws that we have today regarding sexual predators and sex offenses and the mindset of law enforcement in Lawrence and the mindset of the general population who see flashing red headlines on the evening news of some new accused sexual predator, you could have ended up in jail, charged by the local county DA of who-knows-what, and facing many years in prison because of the way we currently allow our lawmakers to view this crime and convict persons on what they are thinking. You could have had a search warrant issued to you by the action of some glory-hunting cop and judge afraid of being branded pro-crime, and your house torn apart by a legion of police, wrecking your home, confiscating your computers and anything else that they could possibly present as "evidence" to the DA to throw you in jail for a sex offense you might have thought about. "Nuts, crazy!!" you say??. Not at all, I have seen it happen. Being a good neighbor in today's atmosphere of the wichhunt for sex predators can get you a lot of trouble for trying to follow the example of the Good Samaritan in Lawrence, where anyone can point the finger at you and land you in jail and charged with crimes. I have seen it happen. Of course this is not to say that these offenders are a not real threat, but the current overkill atmosphere that has been created create an even more dangerous threat to those who are supposed to be innocent until PROVEN guilty. I have seen it happen. I Know.

janeyb 10 years, 7 months ago

Why do cars even have horns? I think at one time you were supposed to honk to let someone know you were about to pass. Maybe if your brakes went out to let people know to get out of the way, or to get the cows to clear off the road. A car horn only seems to be blown in frustration today, or to get someone's attention so you can flip them off! Is it even a necessary item? I've been driving for 6 years and can't remember ever using one.

janeyb 10 years, 7 months ago

I agree that the Mr. Taylor's use of "neighbor" is a little nauseating. But at least he didn't refer to everyone as "the folks". I am so tired of people being referred to as folks I could scream. Last week I had a telemarketer say he was just calling the folks. I told him he had called the wrong number because I'm a person, not a folk.

lounger 10 years, 7 months ago

In the end some one did help her-you! So dont get too hung up on it-alot of the traffic could have been out of towners coming into lawrence from topeka and that would explain alot-ha!

Linda Kucza 10 years, 7 months ago

Sourpuss, Love your comment. Ain't it the truth!! I love living on the East side! I have lived on both sides of town and will stay right over here as long as I am a Lawrencian:) True for sure about our cars! And about the people who come to your aid when needed.

pace 10 years, 7 months ago

I use to think when people whined like this that the point is someone did stop and if they were in new york the disabled vehicle would of been prey or preyer. But when I had a little trouble in the big city, several people, a motorcycle group and what looked like gang members came over helped me pick up spilled luggage and carried it to a spot and helped me repackage. Good for helping. Be careful out there.

George_Braziller 10 years, 7 months ago

I've been having periodic problems with the starter on my vehicle. One of those REALLY annoying ones that seem to disappear when you take it to the shop. Three weeks ago, on my way to work, it happened again. Stopped at Dirty Dillon's on my way to work, jumped in, turned the key --- nothing. The clutch was in and I didn't realize until it was too late that I had rolled back about four feet into the path of the driveway. I was right then trying to figure out what I was going to do.

The woman who had parked next to me came out of the store at the same time and helped me push it UP the grade. I thanked her for her assistance and started the 1/2 mile trek to work with my purchases in hand. I hadn't even reached New Hampshire Street when she stopped and offered me a lift. She didn't know me, I didn't know her and still don't know who she was. It's simple small things like that which make me proud of being a fifth generation Kansan and a 25 year Lawrence resident.

George_Braziller 10 years, 7 months ago

BABBOY - Just curious -- Why do you think that "the east side of Lawerence is pretty insecure"? You can't just throw out a baseless comment like that and walk away.


Man, the east side of Lawerence is pretty insecure. Wow! Try getting some thicker skin or something.

Bill Chapman 10 years, 7 months ago

WOW! Self centered vehicle drivers in Lawrence? I never would have thunk it!

jonas 10 years, 7 months ago

jayneyb: In China, they really use the horn to communicate. The traffic there is absolutely nuts, and the rules are kind of an afterthought at best, so the horn is a vital part of navigation. It would drive an American driver to insanity in a day or two unless they adjusted, but the Chinese don't seem to mind. It's just like talking to them (or yelling, as the case may be, they are bothered much less by yelling and loud confrontational interactions than we are as well).

"Dracul (Anonymous) says:

WOW! Self centered vehicle drivers in Lawrence? I never would have thunk it!"

Here, let me fix this for you. Some irrelevant info needs to be removed.

"WOW! Self centered vehicle drivers? I never would have thunk it!"

There, much better.

bugmenot 10 years, 7 months ago

I saw a turtle trying to cross Kasold once, just barely being missed by cars. I put my flashers on and stopped to pick him up and take him to a creek so he wouldn't be crushed to death. Good Lord, did that raise some ire from other drivers. Nothing makes you feel good like being flicked off for trying to help out the needy. Thanks for stopping, Robert. The world needs more people like you.

Centrist 10 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, yeah, that's it ... a traffic stop turns into a mindless blame-the-liberals debate. Brilliant discussion, "folks" !

Summers_Eve ... you're a bloody idiot.

pace 10 years, 7 months ago

putting on you blinkers and stopping on a busy street to save a turtle could of killed people. sounds stupid and dangerous.

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