THE ADVOCATE 343
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
FAULT OR NO FAULT?
MY RUN-IN WITH THE CHIEF JUSTICE
By Mark Braidwood
I am feeling pretty good about myself. We are ahead of schedule. Maxine,
my 14-year-old, wants to be at school at 8:00 a.m. She is fed, she
has her lunch and she joins me in the car at 7:45. We pull out of the
driveway and then turn left up to the stop sign at Marine Drive. Her
school is just up the street.
It is a bright, mild March day. The roads are dry. There is no one in the
crosswalk to the right. No cars. I check again for cyclists. All clear. I turn left
onto Marine Drive. Holy shit! In the middle of the road is a man walking his
dog. He comes out of nowhere. I slam on my brakes—I can feel the shudder
of the anti-lock brakes as the car slows. He is immediately in front of my
car. He is about six feet tall, wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt and a blue zip-up
jacket with a white wool lining. And he is wearing an All Blacks cap. It’s the
Chief Justice! And my car hits him! I hit the Chief Justice with my car. The.
I turn to Maxine. “You OK?” I check my mirrors. There are no cars
around. I put on my hazards. “What the hell am I going to do?”, I think.
Then, I see a hand on my hood. Then another. And then the cap appears.
He is getting up. I quickly think, “I wonder if that will scratch the paint …”
I jump out of my car and I rush up to Chris. I help him up. He is wobbly.
I ask, “Are you OK?” He says, in a somewhat distressed voice, “No.” Shit. He
is now standing with my arm under his and leaning on my car with the
other. “Shall I call an ambulance?” “No,” he says. “I have no idea how this
happened. You just came out of nowhere. Are you sure you don’t want an
ambulance? I can’t believe this happened.” Shit, shit, shit!
There are now cars coming. I say, “Let’s get away from the traffic.”
Together we hobble to the side of the road. Then, he makes a joke. I
respond, “I hope you’re not my trial judge next week.” We laugh, thank God.
There is now a bus coming and my car is in the middle of the road with
Maxine in it. “You stay here while I move my car.” “I’ll be fine. Go to work,”
he responds. “Just stay put, OK?” I quickly move my car off to the side of
the road and return to help him. He is now hobbling up the street heading
home. I run up to him. “You need to see a doctor.” “I’ll be fine. Go to work.”