Question: I saw a bus driver using his phone while driving. If I were to report him, he may lose his job, but if I kept quiet, it might cause a future accident that harms the commuters. It seems like a ‘minor’ wrong, but it could lead to a major disaster too. What should I do? Will I create negative karma by reporting him?
Answer: This is what could have been done. Politely tell the driver that he should not do what he was doing. If his response is unrepentant, you can report to the bus company by noting the time and bus car plate number. There might be a name tag on him too. You can also discreetly take a picture for proof too. It is better that one irresponsible person potentially loses his job than many passengers potentially lose their lives. If your intention is good, not deliberately to harm him, but to prevent accidents, there will be no negative karma created. In fact, there is only good karma created from reminding him to not do what is wrong, to potentially save many, whether he listens or not.
Question: I was not on the bus, but the bus was moving beside me on the road. As such, I did not have the opportunity to speak with the driver.
Answer: This could be done instead. If there is time, snap a picture with your phone (when your car is stationary, if in one), honk at and wave to the driver, and show the picture. This is a way to warn him without words. If it is hard to know if he is repentant, you can report of a driver on the route at the approximate time – to let the company check and warn, without pointing at him directly. This can be done if you could not catch his attention too. If you caught his attention but his response is clearly unrepentant, do report with the picture as proof.
In times of dilemma, we tend to think of doing either this or that, as possible ‘extreme’ alternatives. However, the truth is, just as many matters are not clear-cut in a black or white way, what ought to be done need not be ‘extreme’ either. We should also be skilfully creative in our means to solve such issues, remembering that we should always be motivated by compassion, and guided by wisdom. Lacking either, we will lack skilful means to be truly effective.