The first video game I ever played was “Super Mario Bros” on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game revolves around a plumber navigating his way through several levels of pipes and hordes of critters to find a princess.
After a few weeks of playing the game, I discovered a warp zone in the second level. This was a secret area that allowed you to advance further in the game by skipping levels. Once I found this shortcut, I would zip through the first two levels with no regard to collecting coins, stomping enemies or scoring points. My goal was to save the princess as quickly as possible.
I feel like this mindset exists in the real world. Whenever we find a faster way to get somewhere, it usually becomes the routine. However, in the real world, we have to be mindful of our surroundings, because extra lives don’t exist.
A resident in Matthews Estates reached out to town leaders about four weeks ago regarding changes with afternoon pickup at Matthews Elementary School. He noticed how “savvy” parents were parking their cars within a neighborhood cul-de-sac and using a footbridge to walk to the school to pick up their children.
The resident noted how all these vehicles were speeding, impeding neighbors’ traffic flow and potentially wearing out the roads. He urged leaders to do something before a tragedy occurred.
Within a few hours, Mayor Paul Bailey, Town Manager Hazen Blodgett and Police Chief Clark Pennington responded to the resident’s email to let him know the town would look into the matter.
Pennington replied a week ago with a very thoughtful and detailed response that impressed me. He thanked the resident for bringing the problem to his attention and offered some observations about each of the resident’s points.
Pennington not only worked with other town departments to address the concern, but he had officers observe how fast drivers were entering and exiting the road from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m. and 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. over the course of two days.
“We understand and appreciate your reasoning for raising the awareness of these issues and we want to work with you and any other residents on solutions to any identified issues,” Pennington wrote.
After speaking with the school’s principal, Pennington assured the resident they would encourage parents to no longer park on side streets. Pennington said he would follow-up in a few weeks to see if the matter gets resolved.
I bring all this up for three reasons. One, Pennington showcased excellent customer service skills. Two, drivers have got to respect their neighbors by not speeding or clogging their streets. Three, I want to play “Super Mario Bros” again, but I need to borrow someone’s Nintendo.