In a 1947 article in The New Yorker, the Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of international bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking”, was quoted as saying in one of his sermons that a lot of road rage can be avoided “if every cab and bus driver and motorist would stop for a moment of prayer when the light changes at an intersection, instead of nervously honking their horns.” This is, of course, just a tad bit wishful. Prayer is powerful, yes, if one does pray, but I highly doubt that people would regularly do it. Come to think of it: Is prayer still a part of people’s pre-driving rituals nowadays?
I asked entrepreneur Mari Lagdameo — boss man behind Strumm’s Makati and a bonafide car aficionado — if he prays before he drives, and he answered: “Yes, I do. And I always have a scapular of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Our Lady of Antipolo) in my wallet.” He also shared that he believes God has saved him “many times” from accidents, saying further “me and my friends are awed that we survived our youth considering how wildly we drove our cars then during the ‘70s.”
He shared with me what some of those cars are and I totally understand why he is a verifiable car enthusiast. Cars like the Hillman Hunter, Triumph TR 4, Triumph TR 6 and his father’s big American sedans like the Mercury Marquis, Pontiac Bonneville, Lincoln Continental, were just some that he got to drive, sneaking some of them out, he said, when he had the chance. “To make a long story short,” he quipped, “my father’s love for automobiles gave me the opportunity to drive quite a lot of different cars.” Fast forward decades later, he still gets to drive several different cars, citing a partiality to BMW which he has loved since he got his first 320i in 1979. I am pretty sure whichever car he drives, so long as he has his Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage scapular, he would be driving safe and sound.
Praying is the most important pre-driving ritual for entrepreneur Benjo Marco Fallaria. His list goes “check the tires, fuel gauge, coolant level, brakes and then say a simple prayer.” “I would always ask for His guidance to keep me alert, keep me safe and give me patience,” he continued. Sharing further, he said, “there were a few ‘close call’ incidents that I would say God saved me.”
Fallaria owns a couple of businesses, one of which is the popular Petron KM 20 in Taytay along Ortigas Avenue Extension. Driving is considered very important in both his personal life and for his businesses, and it is great to note that despite his success he remains humble and prayerful.
Same can be said about real estate sales manager and car dealer Pancho San Diego. He shared that he would always pray before driving, especially when he goes on out-of-town trips. And when asked if there was ever a time he believed God saved him from an accident, he answered, “I had a major accident years ago and I felt like it was Him teaching me a lesson, for there was a time in my life when I drove recklessly and did not really care about other motorists.”
He further shared that those were his “young and dumb days”. Nowadays, he drives cautiously and carefully, especially when he has clients for property viewings onboard or if he is on his equally-important pandemic-proof road trip dates with his girlfriend.
Whether you are driving a four-wheeled vehicle or riding on a two-wheeled one, praying is a pre-driving ritual must. And this is a rule that entrepreneur Jan Michael Medina, one-half of the duo behind Marikina shoe company Art and Sole, follows to a tee. “I say a short prayer for safe travels before I ride or drive,” he said. He has been driving for 12 years and riding for eight, and for his daily driver and workhorse, he uses a Toyota Fortuner, and, for his downtime and fun time, he zips around in his Vespas, either the 2021 S125cc or the 2021 Primavera 150cc.
It is wonderful to see and hear that prayer is still an important pre-driving ritual for mostly everyone, apart from checking on BLOWBAG or battery, light, oil, water, brakes, air and gas. I believe it brings a sense of comfort, knowing you, your vehicle, and your passengers are safe in the hands of a “higher power”. And prayer is also believed to bring you peace, so maybe the late Rev. Dr. Peale was on to something. Let us pray his suggestion be followed, as we could all use more peace on our roads.
This columnist would like to wish her childhood best friend, Kapuso television producer Emeline Andrade Bontuyan, an #aweXome birthday. Praying for many happy returns.