Kansas City - The power of the horn was made obvious today after Richard Dean, 23 of Kansas City, felt shame after being honked at by a man he had cut off.
"I'm a pretty big jerk," says Dean. "I drive around like I own the road, cut people off, run red lights. I do it all. But today . . . today I was put in my place."
Dean says that he was leaving the parking lot of IHOP when he saw a red Suburban coming down the street. "I just pulled out in front of him," says Dean. "There was no way I was going to let someone else get in front of me. I wanted to win. Everything is a race, and I was going to win!"
Dean went on to state that after pulling in front of the Suburban, the driver in the oncoming truck honked at him.
"It was in that moment that it hit me," says Dean. "With a single honk my life changed. I begin to ask myself questions I never had before. Such as: Shouldn't I allow other people to be first? Shouldn't I be courteous with other drivers? How would I feel if someone cut me off? Where is my life going? Is there really a god?"
Dean claims that the honk had saved his life. "I wish I could thank that other driver," he says. "He has no idea what he has done. I was a rude, self-indulged person, but when he honked at me it made me think: Boy! He didn't like that! Not one bit! I feel bad now! I should not have cut him off! Maybe I'll think twice next time because I wouldn't ever want to be honked at ever, ever again! That's what I thought."
"I honk at people all the time," says Ilene Troy, 32 of Kansas City. "If someone does something I don't like, I let them know it! If you pull out in front of me, I'll honk. If you run a red light, I'll honk. If you don't use a round-about properly, I'll honk. I have a horn, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
Other Kansas City drivers said they never liked being honked at. "I got honked at once," said Floyd Winters, a 47 year-old factory worker. "I never want to go through that again! It was horrible! I didn't realize I had done anything wrong, not until I was honked at. I hope people honk all the time! I hope the honking never ceases! I want those rude drivers out there to know that if you're going to drive like an idiot, be prepared to be honked at!"
Oscar Spells, 33, has started his own organization to make people aware of the life-changing power of honking all the time. The organization known as HONK or Help Others Not Kill (other drivers), is dedicated to this cause.
"I started the organization after being honked at once myself," says Spells. "It was a horrible experience. I had cut in front of a lady on Broadway. It was an accident, but still, it could have been worse. She honked for a long time. Boy, she sure showed me!"
Spells says that stories like Dean's are not rare. "We get calls from people all the time," he says. "Some are crying, some are angry at themselves, but all of them said they were going to change their bad driving habits. Why? Because they were honked at! That's why!"
"I am a new man because of that one honk," says Dean. "I even stopped drinking and beating up bus drivers. I will never forget that honk. I don't know where the honker is now, the honker who honked love into this honkies life, but wherever he is, thank you, sir! Dear God, thank you for honking!"