CRASH COURSE ON HITTING SOMEONE AND BEING NICE
Date Published: September 14, 2013
I didn’t see it coming. There was nothing I could do about it but wait for the police.
I took an unexpected crash course and this is what I learned.
1) Stay Calm – it’s just an accident
Texting!? I was at the public parking lot in Coral Gables, leaving my Toastmasters meeting with my older son. Before pulling out, I finished sending the messages I needed to deal with. Fortunately, I’ve gained awareness of the importance of NOT using the phone while I drive. No, I wasn’t texting.
Distracted!? I looked back and saw a car coming at a distance. My son was nagging me to hurry up and leave. As I pulled back slowly aware of what I was doing, I bumped against a white car that was coming down. UF. Where did it come from? Was it speeding down soo fast? Did it just land here as a trick to test me?!? It’s possible. No, I wasn’t distracted!
It was a simple accident with no injuries. There was nothing to blame or be upset about; just deal with the process. I could understand why I didn’t see the car. Behind me there was a blinding light from the sunny day and two white cars parked on the opposite side. I remained calm. My son was jumping inside the car asking when we were leaving. I strongly recommended him to watch a movie on the dvd player. We were both being tested for our patience.
2) Let the police handle it
The man from the pristine white Mercedes Benz jumped out to evaluate the damage. He ordered his wife to take pictures and I started doing the same thing. He was upset and yet he controlled his anger because “It’s your fault”, he told me in a matter-of-fact way. “You were pulling back”. My mind was thinking: he was driving past too fast, why didn’t he honk or swerve me? I had no idea what the rules are so I just said that I was unfamiliar with those laws. It was the first time I was in a car ‘crash’ in the states. The only other incident was at the age of 19 in Argentina when my car was hit so badly it was sold for scrap. The other person didn’t have a driver’s license nor insurance so we settled directly. “I’m calling the police”, he said and I simply accepted in a neutral way.
3) Baby wipes can clean up the scene
At first it appeared to be worse due to the rub marks on the door. I got some baby wipes and found that it was only one dent less than a foot long. Don’t touch it! The man told me a bit too late. I had already cleaned it up. My car’s rear looked messed up but I was able to pop the pieces back into place; no evidence of the bump. No big deal! We should just move on with life, a thought whispered in my ear.
4) Make the most of the wait
They still wanted to wait for the police. I understood he and his wife are entitled to have their car in perfect shape. It’s their property. While we waited one whole hour for the officer to appear, we talked as if we were networking at an event, sharing stories and ended up finding things in common. I arranged for someone to pick my four-year-old from his school, listened to some music, and relaxed. I always know this moment right here defines my life. How am I taking it?
5) Apologize and wish them well
After the police took our car and insurance information I apologized and thanked them for their patience. The officer recommended I call the insurance company to let them know and contact the other party. A few days later I exchanged emails with the couple and I was happily surprised she also wished me well and was looking forward to stay connected.
Accidents can be a nightmare if that’s what we set our minds on. Life brings many things our way; they’re not good or bad in themselves. It’s how we respond to those situations and our perspective that makes all the difference.
Love. Light. Laughter!