You know, I’ve been trying to remain positive among all the noise dealing with the “biker” mentality. I know they bring a lot of money into our area and they are great for local businesses, no matter what you say. I talked to a friend that has his hands in several resorts and said that over this weekend, many of his properties are rented 100% and the others are in the 80’s and 90’s. But I digress.
I just want to share an experience with everyone and hopefully a few bikers will read it and share it with their friends. This experience was not pleasant, and unfortunately (or thankfully for the bikers) I was not present when it happened, but it really hit close to home and severely affected my tone and attitude towards the “biker-crowd” this weekend. As my wife recounted her experience, almost being brought to tears, my blood boiled. I grew angrier than I had been in a long time, and I angered more at the fact that there was nothing I could do about it. Being a follower of Christ, I do pretty good at turning the other cheek when it’s just me involved, but bring my family into it? And the story changes.
As my wife was traveling down Back Beach Road Friday, after going through the intersection of the newly renamed R Jackson Blvd, she had passed through the intersection in the far right “passing” lane. With her turn-signal on, she patiently waited for an open spot in the center lane as her lane was quickly ending. I emphasize the word patient, because she is patient, I am not. She found a hole, (or so she’d thought) and merged in. Of course, being Thunder Beach, there were bikers everywhere, and she happened to have pulled in front of several that were non-to-happy about it.
At this point, she being in the right lane, one of the bikers went up the right side of her mini-van and another sped past her on her left side. They pulled in front of her and slammed on their brakes. “I thought I was going to hit them,” she said, “two bikers with no helmets slammed on their brakes in front of me, I thought I was going to hit them.” They slowed her and the traffic behind her to 20 mph on Back Beach Road.
After a few minutes, she changed lanes to go around them, and they cut her off, preventing her from passing. Of course, at this point, she honked only to be rebutted with the middle finger the two bikers in front of her. They then slowed even more, went to the side of her mini-van and began yelling profanities, with MY kids in the car.
Of course, at this time in the story, she’s almost crying. “I was scared, I had my kids in the car, it was like I was in the movies, I couldn’t believe this was happening, they were yelling at me, saying bad words, my kids could here it and were scared, I’m a mom in a mini-van, how big could this make them feel?” Good question, how big could this make them feel, yelling at a mom in a mini-van with three kids in the car traveling down Back Beach Road.
Could she had made a better decision in her merging into traffic? Sure, we can always find fault in what we do in order to have a different outcome. But, what gave the right to those bikers to harass a mom in a mini-van with kids. So someone pulls in front of you, and you don’t like it, do you pull up next to her and yell profanities to her and her children? Does that make you feel all big and tough? If you read this, if you are the one that did this and you read this, you are a coward. You are not welcome in Panama City Beach again. You can keep your money. Rude bikers are not welcome here.
When you come to Panama City Beach, we don’t owe you anything because you pump life into our economy for 3 lousy days. This is our town, we live here. You can’ t expect everyone to make sacrifices because of you. Everyone is watching you, and if you don’t play nice, you’re going to hack off the wrong people, and at some point, you won’t be welcome here anymore either.
We can have a pieceful coexistence. We do enjoy the business and the money you bring our area, but if you are going to act like a bunch of jerks while you’re here, then don’t come back.