I usually park on the street by my school each day. On the occasions that I have parked in the parking lot, my car door has been hit or small scratches have appeared. I don’t think anyone does it on purpose, but because I’m paying that large sum of money each month to own the car, I like for it to remain nice.
Today as I was walking out to my car after school, a friend from high school was picking his son up from school. “Hey, how are you?” I asked. He looked at me heading towards my car, and said,”Is that your car right there?” I nodded. “Oh no, some big white car side swiped it 15 minutes ago. It just kept going, didn’t stop. We couldn’t get the license plate number, but we saw that it was a Florida tag, and it was a big white Excursion or Expedition,” he explained. “I bet it was a high school kid, they were flying up the street, good thing no kid was trying to cross the street, that would have been bad. We went to look for the car at the high school and the 7-Eleven to see if we could get the plate number, but they weren’t there. I left you my card on the windshield. I’m happy to be a witness when you report to the police or your insurance company,” he said.
I walked around to the side of the car expecting to see white paint down the side. Good news was it was just my mirror that was hit. Bad news was it was dangling and there were parts of the casing all over the ground. As I started to pick up the pieces of plastic, a neighbor walked over, “I might have camera footage of that. I’ll look when I get back from my son’s practice.” Well, that was thoughtful. Way more thoughtful than the jerk who hit my car and kept on driving. This could be a little awkward, “What if it was one of the parents from school?” I thought.
i called the non-emergency police and explained what had happened. “This happened 30 minutes ago? Well, you need to come to the station or go online and fill out a hit and run report. We can’t really do anything now, they are gone,” the operator explained. “But I have a description of the car and it had a Florida license plate. Couldn’t a policeman keep an eye out for this vehicle? They could have hit children instead of my car,” I shared. She must hear from people like me all the time because she responded,” Even if we found them, we couldn’t prove that they were driving at the time.” I hung up very frustrated. “Why did this happen to me? I’m a kind person, I try really hard to be nice to all kinds of people. I just survived a day where my patience was tested so hard, and I kept a smile on my face. How rude and mean and selfish for a person to just hit a car and keep on driving! Doesn’t anyone have a conscience anymore?” I shouted to the air inside of my car.
About 20 minutes later as I’m starting to fill out the hit an run report, I receive a text message, “I found them Tammy, they are parked…” He also mentioned that he was waiting for the police and would give my contact info to them.
A kind officer called me a short time later. But he didn’t have good news for me. There is no way to prove who was driving. Because it had an out of state license plate, it would be hard to find who the driver was. His advice,” Just fill out the hit and run report and turn it into your insurance company.”
After a hanging up, I had another rant session. This would be expensive, but not more than my deductible. This was coming out of my pocket. And that made me mad! So I sent my friend a text and told him what the officer had said. “Can you tell me where exactly the car was? I’m going to put a note on the windshield to let them know that their were witnesses and ask them how they would like to deal with the cost of the damage,” I texted. I was feeling brave, but also feeling like this person should be held accountable. I am so frustrated by the unaccountable these days. I drove to the address, found the car and slipped my note under the windshield, then drove back home thinking that I’d probably never hear from that person, but thinking, “At least I tried.”
I taped up the mirror, called my brother to see if he would help me fix it (he’s inherited my dad’s mechanic skills), and then made plans to have dinner with my family. After dinner, I noticed that there was a message on my phone from a number I didn’t know. I listened, “Hi, I got your note on my car, could you please call me.”
My first thoughts were that she would be rude to me and try to deny it. I was worried that calling back was just going to cause me more frustration. But, then I started thinking of how her voice sounded. She didn’t sound angry, but concerned. She sounded like a mother. She sounded honest.
I called her. She asked me where this had happened. I asked had she been driving the car. She said, “No, I think it may have been my daughter.” I asked if she had seen her passenger side mirror. She replied,” Yes, I’m piecing this together, and I’m sure it was my daughter. I’m so sorry that this happened to your car. I will pay for the replacement.” I warned her,” I was just looking at it with my Dad, we were hoping it was just the back cover, but it looks like pieces of the mirror and mirror motor were cracked and damaged too. I think it will have to be the whole mirror.” “Get me an estimate, it will probably be the whole mirror, I’ve had to replace mine a few times. I’ll get cash for you or I’ll pay the dealer, just text me the estimate and we will make arrangements.”
Hmmmm… she’s had to replace hers twice, those driving skills might be hereditary. I’m thankful that the mom seems to understand accountability better than the child. Hopefully this will become an accountability lesson as well.