I had an interesting morning today. I was running a few errands before taking my son to school. We had just finished up at the post office. I pulled out of my parking space and got onto the street. I stopped at an intersection, and was waiting for a pedestrian to finish crossing the street I wanted to turn onto. The man had started crossing the intersection, stopped, and returned to the curb a few times. It was odd, and I guessed he was either drunk or had some kind of mental illness.
So, I waited until he had completely crossed the street to turn. When he saw me turning, he ran back into the road, and blocked my car from passing through the intersection. He started waving his hands and yelling that I almost hit him. Really angry yelling. Neck veins and eyes bulging.
This was kinda scary. Not to mention that I had my preschool-aged child in the car, and now, my car was in the middle of the intersection. Cars were waiting to pass, and the man was still screaming and blocking my path.
What to do?
Honk? That may make the situation worse. Inch forward until he moves? Again, that would probably make the situation worse. Dial 9-1-1? Another minute and I would have.
Honestly, I was very surprised that there weren't any police officers around. We were right across from the police department. When I run errands downtown in the morning, I usually see several patrol vehicles. Not today, and not at that moment. Fortunately, simply ignoring the man seemed to work. It was like a switch flipped. He stopped yelling, did his curb-street-curb-thing, crossed the street and walked away.
I slowly drove away. I admit, I did look for police officers on the side streets. A person like that is clearly a danger to himself and others, and should not be on the streets. I considered stopping at the police station to report it. But, with my son in the car, I thought that would be a little much to explain. Plus, we would have been late to school.
What would you have done?