Winston Churchill is largely regarded by the British public as the man who saw us through the Second World War. When Hitler was at our throats, Churchill was the man who inspired the population to fight back and survive.
But in 1931, history nearly spiralled off in a different direction.
On December the 13th, a New York taxi-driver was looking for late night fares. He turned north on to Fifth Avenue where a figure was climbing out of another cab. Forgetting that he was not in Britain and that cars in America drove on the opposite side of the road, Winston Churchill looked the wrong way and crossed straight in to the path of the oncoming taxi.
At Lenox Hospital, he was diagnosed with two cracked ribs, a scalp wound and a plethora of bruises. But he survived.
The Italian-American cab driver checked up on Churchill at the hospital, distraught at the thought he could have killed someone. But Churchill was insistent that it was all his fault and the incident became legend.
It is a rather sobering thought to think that, had that taxi been going just a little faster, Britain’s leadership may well have crumbled under Nazi pressure…
I wonder if this incident influenced the film Back to the Future in anyway..?