- June 18th, 2007
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I was pulling out of a parking space in my apartment lot yesterday afternoon while on the way to the golf course. I was already running late, so naturally, I bumped a car. It was a minor thing at most; simply one rear bumper against another—that’s what they’re there for, isn’t it?
Despite the fact that I wasn’t moving more than a couple miles per hour, I thought it best to take a look. Getting out of my car, I looked at my bumper and saw a smudge of dust from the other car’s bumper, but when I turned and looked at the other car (an Explorer), I was amazed to see a bunch of damage on the liftgate: it was dented right in, the bumper was out of place, and there was a piece of plastic chipped out of the bumper.
It was a moment before I realized that all that damage had already been there, and that I had most likely done absolutely nothing to this car to damage it. Being the good person that I am, however, I left my insurance card and a note that explained what had happened with my phone number on it. I then headed off to my golf game.
During the course of the day, I started thinking about whether I had actually done the right thing by leaving my information. It would be quite easy for a person to take advantage of a small bump like that; far too easy to claim that I had done more damage than I actually had. On the other hand, isn’t that what insurance claim adjusters are for? They would take one look at my unhurt automobile and, knowing that there’s no way I could have damaged that Explorer like that, they would have closed the claim immediately. At least, that’s what I’d have liked to think. But there was still that nagging doubt in the back of my mind.
Throughout the whole of our golf game, I didn’t get any calls. Nor did I get any while out to dinner with my friends. I called my insurance company to open a claim, just in case, and then ate dinner and came home.
The note was still there on the windshield of the car. Part of me seriously considered taking it. But in the end, I left it there for whomever to take it.
In the morning when I left for work, the note was still there, and it was there all day today. When I finally got home, there were some people out in the parking lot and I asked them if they knew whose car it was. One of the ladies piped up, stating that it was hers.
“Oh,” I said. “I bumped into it yesterday. I saw the damage on it and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t the cause of any of it.”
“Pff,” she said. “God no, my ex got into a nasty accident with this thing. You couldn’t have done anything to it. You didn’t call your insurance about it, did you?”
I informed her that I had, but that if she decided not to file a claim, after thirty days they would simply close it. She simply shrugged it off.
Since she didn’t seem to care at all, I took the note and my insurance card, just to make sure. Can’t be too safe.
I thanked her and started heading up to my apartment and she said, “Hell, you can crash into that thing any time you want.”
I felt much better about having done the right thing after that.