A Googler Has his Tiananmen Square Moment

Earlier today I was driving to Google for a product briefing, minding my own business, talking on my Google phone with Google PR and trying to figure out what Google building I was supposed to be driving to. I stopped at a crosswalk for a bunch of Googlers to pass. And this guy, who’s wearing a Google employee badge, decides it’s time to take a stand against cell phone use in cars. So he stands in front of my car and won’t move. That’s right, it was his Tiananmen Square moment.

Cars behind me start swerving. I back up to go around him. He steps forward, vigilant in his defense of the law. I’m off the phone now, and snapping this picture didn’t help getting him to move on. The light changes. The light changes again. Cars are now backed up behind me.

I’m not sure what comes next in a situation like this. I can either drive over him or park my car. So I put the car in park, open the door to get out and discuss the situation with him. That’s when he ran away. His mission, apparently, accomplished.

I’ll note for the record that I was absolutely violating the law. California is one of a handful of states that bans cell phone use while driving, and I was flaunting that law with careless abandon. I am now subject to a $20 fine.

Whereas blocking a street and creating a traffic hazard is a $220 fine.

And the cell phone ban hasn’t actually resulted in less accidents.

And I’ll end with this. If this Googler feels smug enough about cell phone usage to stop traffic and nearly cause an accident, then of course he’ll be quitting his job at Google soon. Because, frankly, how can he work for a guy who does the same thing that I did?

If anyone knows who this is, please let me know so we can send him a TechCrunch tshirt.