Saturday, 14 June 2014

Birthday honours, and a motorbike accident

The honours list has been published today. I've never been sure about these rather arbitrary selections of those upon whom these honours are bestowed. We all know people who work tirelessly for others, with little or no recognition; charity workers, great teachers, doctors...people who have a profound effect on the lives of others; people we ourselves might select over those whose jobs are more publicly recognised.

However, this post is about a particular honour in today's list. Many years ago, my son, a student, was knocked off his motorbike by a woman who drove through red traffic lights. He flew over the bonnet of her car, and landed legs first, sustaining a severe compound fracture of one tibia (to the unitiated, that means the bone was sticking out through the skin). To this day, he has a metal pin in that leg.

I realise that the driver couldn't make any sort of contact while investigations were ongoing (although if it had been me, I think I would have to have at least phoned the hospital to ask how he was), but afterwards, when she had received her (small) fine and (I think) 5 points on her licence, I fully expected some kind of apology. None was forthcoming. I wrote a firm (though polite) letter to her, saying this, but never received a reply. Had my son landed head first, he wouldn't be with us now. And yes. I am still angry.

Today, I see that she has just been made a dame. I'm sure her work has been excellent (altough hers is  not a field in which I have any interest), but I can't help wondering whether this is the kind of person to whom we should be paying homage.

We all make mistakes. All we wanted was an apology. One short sentence would have sufficed. Was that so much to ask? Had she managed this, I wouldn't feel so resentful of the honour she has received. (I know I'm being illogical, but please forgive me.  That's motherhood!)

30 comments:

  1. Come on Frances don't mess about. Name and shame.

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    1. ps. What was she Damned for? I can guess a meaningful life spent promoting road safety. I have a friend who was gaoled for a very similar offence and banned from driving for years. He was sober but just never saw the motorcyclist due to low sun. He admits he should have slowed down when he couldn't see properly.

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    2. Adrian, I can't. No because I'm nice (perish the thought) but because she's rich and would probably sue me. Pity, that.

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  2. I'm sure you local newspaper would be interested in this story (or even The Daily Mail). Make her suffer; as your son did!

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    1. It was a long time ago, CM. not really news any more.

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  3. As there are over 1100 honours listed, although not all dames, we couldn't hazard a guess. Go on, tell.

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    1. I can't Maggie (reasons above). But I'd very much like to...

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  4. Not the nicest character, it seems. As you say, we all make mistakes, but to accept responsibility for it and at least get in touch with the person you have hurt (or their family) takes guts and shows strength as well as kindness of heart, something this newly knighted woman was obviously lacking back then. Maybe she has changed since then, but it is unlikely, as such traits usually stay with someone once they have been established.

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    1. The odd thing, Meike, is that most people would HAVE to know how their victim was. She's known to be weird, but that selfish?

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  5. Go on, Frances - sell the story to the newspapers! Name and shame! You're not being illogical at all - any mum (or dad) would feel the same x

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. But as I've said, I daren't risk it. In fact I nearly said s/he so that even her gender wasn't disclosed. But if from what you know of me you find a dame who has nothing whatever in common with me (and vice versa), you might guess. Think appearance (there's a clue for you!).

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    2. Oh my word - I think I've got it!
      I just read your reply to Martine - what a very decent and forgiving person your son is x

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    3. Teresa, if you email me with your solution, I'll tell you whether you're right! Also, there's a question I'd like to ask you, but not publically.

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    4. Ooh I will email you now, Frances!

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    5. And she got it right! Anyone else want a try??

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  6. Honours can only be given to those nominated or otherwise brought to the attention of whoever makes the selection. Those who don't make their good deeds public aren't likely to get recognised for them.

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    1. Patsy, that's what makes it so random. I know at least one person who received an honour (well deserved) because her friends and colleagues campaigned for it. I also know at least one person who is known to have set out to get a knighthood, doing all the 'right' things, and got one. And the husband of a friend who got one because it routinely goes with the job.

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  7. I totally understand your reaction, parenthood makes you very protective, I would want to rip the legs off anyone who hurt any of my children

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    1. Martine, at the time, I would cheerfully have killed her. My son is an exceptionallyf orgiving person, and even as he lay in agony on a hosital trolley with his bone stcking out of his leg, said that 'maybe she was having a bad day'. He's nicer person than I am!

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  8. I wonder whether she had been advised not to communicate with you after the accident. It's a very sobering story, Frances.

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    1. I understand that she couldn't make contact during the immediate aftermath, Wendy. But at the court hearing at least she could have said something.

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  9. I've just popped in again Frances. I didn't know what to say last night. I still don't this morning.

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  10. What a wonderful thing for your son to have said. You did a good job with him. So far as the honours malarkey goes...I have no interest in it.

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    1. How do you think I feel Frances? Worried doesn't come close.

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    2. That's the problem. I don't know.

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  12. I would feel just as the same as you, Frances. Isn't your son nice? It's a pity this woman wasn't as well brought up and good-hearted as he is. x

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    1. Thank you,Joanna. I'm glad you agree.

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