by Tom Swift

I think we all hope to leave our mark on the world. Only precious few of us do.

I speak from experience. For I know how hard it is to bring about change.

Real. Lasting. Change.

On July 19 of the current year, as I was leaving the Trader Joe’s parking lot with a car full of groceries, I decided to exit via the “in” lane. This was not so much a conscious choice. Destiny doesn’t work that way.

It is as I rounded the wrong curb when I tried to see if my windshield would withstand a collision with the working end of the sturdy, steel gate that welcomes you to Trader Joe’s.

Turns out, no.

Now this, believe it or not, isn’t the best part of the story.

If you want to change the world you have to sacrifice.

I want you to know that my windshield did not die in vain.

Several subsequent trips to TJs have revealed that I literally had left a mark. Specifically, streaks of paint from my car remained on the edge of the sign.

That is, until my most recent trip, on Tuesday of this week, when I noticed that TJs has now added safety tape around the edges of the sign.

I do not know for a fact the manager personally mentioned me by name at the unveiling ceremony of this public safety enhancement but I think we can assume that he did.

For weeks people asked me: How did you do it? Why did you do it?

They just didn’t get it, I guess. I drove my car into a a sharp, heavy inanimate object for them.

So they wouldn’t have to.

In fact, this was never about me. It’s about the tens of thousands of shoppers who come after me. For if any single one of them is as completely moronic as I was at that moment will be spared the humiliation — and a windshield deductible, if they happen to have one — that I endured on their behalf.

They can thank me later.