Have You Ever Been Influenced by Other People's Opinions Which You May Dislike? Describe.

I had once been influenced by a friend of mine three years ago. The experience was shocking, but I still learned nothing from it.

In 1993, I had just passed my driving test, and I wanted to buy a second-hand car so that I could travel freely. I started finding my ideal car through reading advertisements on the papers, but I could not find anything I liked. One day, Peter announced a good news, saying that he knew a friend who wanted to sell her car. Knowing the news, I immediately went to see the seller. On the way, Peter said the car was fantastic: its maximum speed was over 150 km/hour and it cost only twenty thousand dollars. Peter also said I might get the car at a lower price because the seller was very kind. Twenty thousand dollars? It was really a bargain, I thought. So my heart brimmed with hope.

What surprised me more was not only the car but also the owner. She was over 40 (I am sure about that), but she was so elegant that I could only fumble for words when I tried to speak to her. Her beauty truly knocked me down. At that time, Peter said, "This is Sussie. She is a coach in a gym. You should try to do more exercises, Thomas!" "Sure, sure, sure!" I replied. Well, after that, Peter did all the talking. With my ears filled with Peter's words, I did not even try to bargain with her. I just heard Peter say this and Peter say that, but I did not know what "this" or "that" meant. Finally, I took the car with Peter's solemn guarantee, that the car would be perfectly fine.

I trusted Peter and I trusted Sussie, who seemed (at least, to me) always gentle and kind. But I forgot to check one thing which is very important to a moving car—that is, the brake. Perhaps I was too happy to see such a beautiful middle-aged lady. So, after getting in the car, I pressed the pedal hard, driving fast to the expressway. It was wonderful. I remembered what Peter finally said to me before we parted: "Thomas, you will not regret it. You can count on me." But no sooner had I recalled these words than "my" car bumped into the tail of a truck. Then, I was totally at a loss.

Three years later, I, writing with my left hand now, always wonder: Was Peter also attracted by Sussie, or was Peter an accomplice of Sussie? Should I trust my friend? What are friends for? For these questions, I really don't know.


by Thomas Shum