I was never hit by a car, but I sure came quite close.

I was a volunteer deputy sheriff working a detail at a Greek festival in East Pittbsurgh (a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA).

The festival was organized by a Greek Orthodox Church. I worked that detail for many years because I lived on the street where the festival was held, and because both the priest and the members of the church were extremely nice people, so I was happy to protect them.

The festival was across the street from the church, which meant people were constantly crossing the street. This was very dangerous: It was a small town street, but most cars got there from a major highway just several hundred yards away, still feeling it was OK to drive fast.

One of the festival's feature was a Greek music band, as well as Greek dancers dressed in traditional Greek costumes. Truly a wonderful festival (plus, of course, they served delicious Greek food).

My work consisted mostly in traffic control. On one hand you had the drivers coming at high speed off the highway. On the other, you had drivers going on to the highway. These drivers were not speeding, but many weren't looking at the road. Instead, they were looking to their right, watching the dancers. Many of the speeders were not looking at the road either. They were looking left, watching the festival as well.

And, of course, there were the people trying to cross the road, completely ignoring my instructions to wait for me to stop the traffic for them (quite frankly, it gave me special satisfaction to spend one week of each year stopping those inconsiderate speeders on my home street).

Many times, the only way for me to regulate the traffic was by standing in the middle of the road, waving my flashlight, blowing my whistle, and dancing. Not to the music, but dancing to stay safe from incoming traffic that was not watching.

One evening, there was this driver who should have known better (i.e., he was a senior citizen). He was coming from town, moving toward the highway. His windows were unrolled. The car was full of passengers. Everyone in the car, including the driver was looking to their right, watching the dancers, not the road, let alone me.

Worst of all, the car started moving left, straight into the incoming traffic. And right at me who had nowhere to jump. I yelled and screamed, but the driver was so into the dancers and the music he apparently "did not hear me" even though his windows were rolled down.

Finally, I hit his car with my nightstick. That woke the driver up. He looked at me and swung the wheel to safety. I screamed: "Are you trying to kill me, Sir!?" The driver did not reply. Instead, he quickly sped up and drove away.

The man almost hit and killed me. Yet he did not have the decency to at least say he was sorry. He was lucky I did not have a radio on me (since I just walked there directly from my appartment instead of driving downtown and getting a radio). If I did and called for assistance, he would probably have been arrested. Had he stopped and apologized, I would certainly let him go even if I had the radio on me.