This message is for your father, who I have not met but whose work
and efforts have saved my life.
In 1996, my friend sold me his 1988 Toyota Corolla for $200,
essentially as a gift, to celebrate my finally becoming a driver.
(I learned to drive at 25, having avoided it as long as possible.)
He gave me the car and said it had served him very well, with over
100,000 miles on it. It ran perfectly.
About 8 months later, I dropped another friend off at his house,
and was driving back to my workplace at night, when I looked down
to change the station on my radio. I looked up and realized I was
heading straight into a traffic circle.
Before I could respond, I slammed into the traffic circle, jumped the
curb, and slammed, head on, into a large stone in the middle of the
circle. I was travelling at 30 miles per hour.
Your father’s design so completely absorbed the shock of the accident
that I got out of the car, entirely unhurt, surveyed the damage in the
dark, and then attempted to get back into it to drive away. In fact,
as we discovered later, the impact had been strong enough to push the
entire drive train back 6 inches and dislodge part of the engine off
its mounts. To this day, nearly 10 years later, I have suffered no
medical problems or issues as a result of that accident.
I consider the efforts of your father and his design team, 30 years
earlier, to have been instrumental in this, and I would like to thank
him for guiding the Corolla project to this level of safety for this
(inexperienced) driver. If at all possible, please let Hasegawa-Sensei
know of my well wishes for him, and of the echoes of life his work
With much respect,
Thank you for your kind message, which I print out now and will take
to my father Tatsuo probably this Sunday. He is alive and well
(prostatic cancer under good control by hormone therapy)
and is always very pleased with this sort of customer’s (positive)
Thank you once again.
Akio Hasegawa, M.D., PhD
Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan
Categorised as: Uncategorized
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