Occasionally I retrieve a distant story from my memory bank, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared this one with you until now. Back in the 1970’s my dear friend Jerry August was driving around Fort Lee, New Jersey, where he served on the Borough Council with me. Jerry’s young daughter was the only passenger in the car.
He accidentally cut off another driver who took it very personally and followed Jerry until he parked his car. The stranger got out of his car in a rage. He was well over 6 feet tall and was extremely muscular without an ounce of fat. He could easily have been a linebacker in the NFL. Jerry lowered his window and apologized, but the big fellow was not in a listening mood. He grabbed Jerry by the hair and started to pull.
An athlete and strong, Jerry could normally defend himself, but being seated behind the wheel and accosted from above, Jerry had no leverage. Just as Jerry was about to lose all his hair, a little guy showed up. He was probably no more than 5 foot 6 inches and didn’t weigh a pound over 130. He said to the big guy, “Why don’t you leave him alone?” The big guy did not take kindly to the question and countered with, “Why don’t you butt out?”
Undeterred, the little guy persisted, “Let go of him. He’s with his daughter.” The big guy pushed him which was a gigantic mistake on his part. In a flash the little guy gave the big guy some kind of a karate punch, and the bully went down for the count.
Jerry called me and we met at the police station. When they brought in the bully, he looked meek, to say the least. He wore a significant indentation in the middle of his forehead. Jerry decided not to press charges since it seemed obvious that the big guy had learned his lesson.
It turns out that the bully was Mr. Atlas of New Jersey, and serendipitously, the little guy had a title like Mr. Karate of New Jersey. Sometimes, just sometimes, real life is every bit as wonderful as the movies.