There is a great scene near the end of the movie The Family Man when Nick Cage engages Don Cheadle. Cheadle plays an angel of sorts and takes the form of a convenience store clerk. He intentionally gives an extra $5 to a woman as change for her purchase and you see her waffle over the decision to return the excess. She does not, and later he says something like, “For 5 bucks, really?” It’s a great scene to illuminate the choices we make in life and when to do right. In that case, someone really was watching.
This past Saturday morning I was heading to Taylor’s JROTC drill team meet at Pinkerton. Looking for a spot in the lot, all of a sudden a green and silver Subaru backs out of a spot on my right and hits me broad side. I’m already running a few minutes late, so I’m kind of pissed. We get out of the cars and I see a very young girl, probably Taylor’s age. She walks over and apologizes 20 times, “I was just following someone and I didn’t look!”
In the past, my first inclination would have been to be mad and make a big deal. But given her age and sincerity, I felt guilty instantly freaking out and I stayed calm. We walked over to the right side of my car and by some miracle, there was absolutely no body damage. It was a soft bump and so she must have just hit the tire with her bumper. What a stroke of luck. No harm no foul. We shake hands and go our ways. There is a nagging voice in my head and so I write down her license plate number, just in case. I head into the meet.
As I drive away from Pinkerton, I instantly notice that my steering wheel is set up crooked: The car is out of alignment. Great. Later in the day, I am driving on rt 28 and am startled when the ABS system is randomly kicking on and pulsing the brakes at 50 mph. Nice, the accident must have messed up a sensor. Checking the tire, I notice a new scratch on the rim.
On Sunday, I go to the Derry police station. I have little faith that anything can be done, but I have to try. The officer explains that since they weren’t there, he can’t investigate anything. It’s her word vs mine. “Can you send her my information and see if she contacts me?” Nope. No accident report, means I can’t file a claim with insurance.
On Monday I called Pinkerton campus security. They don’t give out student information. Yeah I know that, I would expect no less. But I was hoping the school could reach out to the student and her parents’ good nature (assuming she goes there and they have her plate on record for the parking permit). Because as pathetic as this is and goes against everything I believe about self-reliance, the lesson I learned is to always call the cops. That is no fun and a waste of time and resources. I am hoping that maybe I can reach out to Pinkerton’s PTA and appeal to their sense of what is right. Because it is not ‘right’ for what will certainly be me eating an approximate $200 + repair for a student’s carelessness, and my civil naivety.
So I will send this post, and a nice note to Pinkerton, in the hopes that someone will at least make a good faith effort to, even anonymously, do the right thing on their own.
(Picture of the rim and scratch that I didn’t notice because my phone screen is messed up, and the site of the collision. Taken just after she drove off)