george_hancockstefanParking lots are safe places because people drive slowly, we are told. Yet this past week one lady from Red Bank was hit fatally in the parking lot of Bank of America at Navesink River Road. I read that article with fear because of a number of near misses and some accidents that happened in our family.

About four months ago, as I was exiting from Foodtown and trying to make a left turn on First Avenue, a car coming in the exit almost hit me. The young man swerved to my right, showed me the finger as though I was at fault.  He parked in a parking space and was in a hurry to meet his friends at the nearby pizzeria.  Seeing that no one was behind me, I backed into a parking space and tried to talk to him about the fact that he has entered the parking place through the wrong place and missed me by a few inches.  There was no apology, but a belligerent attitude that made one of his friends come and talk to me that I should let the whole thing drop. I see the young man and his girlfriend in town from time to time and I am wondering if his driving has improved since that time.

This past Sunday, early in the morning I picked up a dozen donuts at the

Dunkin Donuts. A lady was coming and she was turning left. I stopped and I let her go, only to see this car drive with a good speed across the parking lot. Last year one of my daughter’s cars was hit by a person who drove in the same way.  It was sad that even when the police officer arrived she kept telling him that she was in a hurry because she was late for her meeting. She never apologized to my daughter for hitting her car even though the damage done to the car was over $2,000.

Therefore, I decided to share my story with this elderly gentleman and to ask him to drive according to the rules of the parking lot. I was surprised to receive all sorts of hand gestures from this gentleman whose behavior slightly unnerved me for the morning Worship Service.


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I shared my Sunday story with the foreign exchange student who lives with us for this school year and he shared a funny story about his grandfather. His grandfather took his grandchildren to a movie theater and was trying to find a parking space. Being disabled he drove a couple of times around the parking lot only to see a young lady pull in and take the spot marked for the handicapped.  His grandfather turned off the engine and went to the window of the car that was now parked and asked the young lady if she needs assistance. I do not need your assistance she replied to him.  I thought that you need assistance because you are parked in a place where the people who are handicapped should be. The young lady apologized and pulled out of the parking space and offered it to him.

Common courtesy, respect for the law, respect for elders, and giving priority to others are things that we need to learn. Often we blame the young, but I found that older people are doing the same things. We all need to take our time, to be gentle with one another and to learn from one another. Moreover, when someone takes the time to correct us, accept it graciously as something that is being done for our good.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...