It happens to the best of us, right? Please say it’s not just me! Last week, I was going about my day, trying to accomplish and stay on top of myriad tasks, when the unexpected dashed into my life. A sickening thud of metal against metal precipitated the immediate reaction of: Thank G-d, I’m okay! With the speed of a frightened cat scooting up a tree, the reality check thudded: Oh, no! Not this! Followed by: Not Now!
T’was just a fender bender, and the other driver was careless and smashed into my car. So now, not only did I have insurance adjustors to deal with, but I was going to be even later for my appointment. By the time I waited for the police officer to come and make his report, I had to wave goodbye to my appointment. Grrr! I really wanted that appointment.
What do you say, Rachel? In the event of a minor accident, is it okay to simply exchange insurance information, or is calling the police a necessity?
I’m so sorry your car was hit, but I’m relieved to hear that you’re okay! Cars can be fixed and replaced! We all know that, but that doesn’t take away the aggravation that hails from even a minor car accident.
I want to share an incident that occurred to me recently.
I, too, was going about my day, innocent and unsuspecting of the events that were about to transpire. I pulled into the parking lot of a small business, and a car was backing out of its space, but it wasn’t stopping. I gasped and pounded my horn, desperately trying to get the driver to stop. But my efforts were ineffective, and suddenly, her car made sharp contact with the passenger side of mine. Thankfully, I was the only one in the car at the time!
I turned off my car and felt tears prick my eyes. Why? I asked, lifting my eyes heavenward. I’ve had a really hard week, G-d, and I’m so tired. What are You trying to teach me?
Shaking her head and looking flustered, a woman climbed out of her car, and I emerged from mine.
“I’m so sorry!” she blubbered. “This was all my fault. I wasn’t looking and just didn’t pay attention!”
“Oh,” I said, my heart twisting.
She didn’t mean it, I thought. Accidents can happen to anyone. Calm down, Rachel.
“It’s okay,” I said slowly. “We all make mistakes.”
“Do you want to just exchange insurance information and be done with it?” she wondered.
I knew my husband wouldn’t be happy with that, but figured I’d call to double check.
“You have to get a police report,” he declared.
I heaved a sigh and wondered how long it would take, thinking about the rest of my plans that were slowly slipping away.
The woman and I began talking while we waited for the police. She was quite personable and professed a strong trust in G-d who, she insisted, always watches over her.
Inspired, I tried to absorb her message of unwavering faith and trust; you just never know when and from whom you’re going to get a message. It may even come from the sweet gentile lady who backed right into your car.
In due time, the officer finally came and went, and the woman and I parted with a friendly hug.
Fast forward a few hours later, and I’m on the phone with her insurance.
“Our client said you were sitting behind her just waiting for her to hit you, so that makes you 50-percent liable.”
Huh? Did I hear right?
“Just like your insurance would believe you, we believe our client. Fifty percent.”
My trust in humanity spilled out of my body like fizz escaping an uncapped soda bottle. She lied! How could she? She had been so nice, so kind, so G-d-fearing, so honest …
Thankfully, the police report, ready a few days later, verified my innocence. And it was a good thing because the damage was much more extensive than I realized; to my shock my car was totaled! Her insurance cut us a generous check, and I’m now driving my new used car, still trying to become familiar with its different features. I kinda miss my trusty old vehicle that I didn’t need to figure out before hitting the gas. It was like having a loyal friend; we knew each other.
So, my Kaboomed friend, after my experience, I definitely advocate enduring the extra inconvenience of waiting for that police report. It might just spell the difference between being able to repair or even replace your car.
All the best, Rachel Stein