The wave

All across Australia, there is a movement, a signal, a friendly gesture that is time honoured, gender inclusive and completely non-discriminatory.

The wave.

We are not talking about the actions of the group at a soccer game here. It’s a personal thing. Automotive related. Deeply emotional to some and physiologically robotic to others. At its most vanilla one driver is involved; an extreme event will involve the drivers and passengers in the front seats of both vehicles simultaneously.

It can be initiated by any manner of gestures. So numerous to mention: I will give it ago.

  • Lifting of one finger off the steering wheel
  • Lifting of a number of fingers off the steering wheel
  • Whole palm gesture including fingers vertical
  • Whole palm gesture with hand in a crescent shape
  • Heavy metal symbol, two fingers
  • Peace sign with fingers
  • A nod with the head (often motorcyclists do this as their hands are busy)
  • Turn sideways with the head

Sadly this tradition is lost in city areas. A wave will go non-responded to, unnoticed, unloved. The loss of kinship, the loss of community, the unacknowledged acknowledgment is a tragic plight within our city areas. Perhaps people in the country have more time, are more relaxed, or are spirited with community; albeit a community bonded by travel.

I adore the single finger lift. The simplicity of minimalist acknowledgement; the friendly gesture. Today a driver gave me a heavy metal salute. Another driver gave me a salute shaped like a gun pointed finger. All friendly, all designed to lift each other’s spirit within the confines of our tin motorised boxes, whilst experiencing the thousands of kilometres of travel.

The most memorable salute I gave was on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Coming out of a small town there was a car with learning plates attached, motoring towards me in the adjacent lane. I lifted my hand and gave a full hand wave to the driver. It was a young girl who had obviously just received her learners. Her entire face went from extreme concentration, to blissful excited joy. She smiled, her entire face lit up, she beamed as she waved back. I may have indeed been the very first person to offer a wave to her.

It is such a small gesture that can mean so much to a person. I had a warm fuzzy feeling all day from the interaction. I hope that I had just made her day.


Today I lost a very good friend. Today I lost someone who I had shared much of my life with. Today I lost a person who shared my teenage years and into my 20s. We may not have had much contact in the last years but I did think of you often Jamie, wondered how you are and where you life had taken you.

If I have any regrets in my life so far it is not keeping in contact with all the people who are or were close to me. As well as the new friends, make sure you keep in contact with everyone in your life, even if it’s an email or text or a short message once in a while.

Rest in peace Jamie Dodd.


  1. Acts of kindness as simple as a smile, a ‘Good morning my friend’ often go a long way.
    It lifts up the day, both sides feel good and make the world a better place.
    As you know, Les we sell our handmade jewellery on the streets of Australia and beyond while we cycled the world.
    While selling we usually give four bracelets away each day or reduce the price.
    It feels good!
    A few years ago while street selling in the centre of Brisbane a young woman walked past during rush hour.
    She stopped picked up a bracelet and said ‘That’s beautiful’ and then moved on.
    In those 20 seconds, I had observed her and it was clear se battled with drugs and prostitution .
    I picked up the bracelet and caught up with her while she was in a crowd at the pedestrian crossing.
    I put my hand on her shoulder and said ‘Is this the bracelet you liked’?
    I put it on her wrist, a tear appeared in the corner of her eyes, she gave me a hug and disappeared.
    Two months later while selling in the city CBD of Sydney, I was concentrating on making an anklet and suddenly a wrist was put in front of my face.
    I looked up, there was woman with an older man next to her.
    She smiled and said ‘Do you remember me’?
    ‘Yes I do’, I replied with a smile – ‘Brisbane’!
    She said ‘That day in Brisbane you gave me the bracelet, I was suicidal and planned to end my life that evening, your act of kindness triggered something deep within me!
    May I introduce my father, I am out of prostitution and quit the drugs’.
    It was a brief emotional reunion.
    All this happened because of a Small Acts of Kindness.

    Sorry for the loss of your friend.
    RIP Jamie Dodd.

    • Thankyou Michael.
      This is a powerful story.
      Or a simple story/act with powerful positive ramifications
      Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi Les & Mandy, a wave can be like the waves in the ocean some are small some are large but they are all in the same direction, Travel safe, see you when you get back, Uncle Bill.

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