In this post, I’m going to talk about two similar incidents that took place several years apart.
Many years ago I was driving over to a friend’s house. It was after dark and I was driving down Cox Creek Parkway in front of Regency Square Mall (now Florence Mall). As I was passing by one of the entrances to the mall, a young man decided to run a red light and pull out from the mall parking lot right in front of me. I hit my brakes, but was not able to completely stop before hitting him. “Oh, great,” I thought, “Now I’m going to be late getting to my friend’s house.”
I got out of my car as did the young man. He immediately began begging for mercy, saying he just couldn’t have this accident on his record. I have no idea what other accidents he had caused, but he obviously didn’t want yet another one on his record. If I’d been smart, I’d have extorted some money from him to keep the accident on the hush-hush. But, NoooOOOOOooooOOOO! I didn’t do that. I looked at the damage to my car and realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was a bit torn about it, but I ultimately decided to let it slide. I told him he could go. He began thanking me over and over, almost groveling. I was afraid he was going to bow down and kiss my feet or something. Apparently he wasn’t lying when he said he REALLY didn’t want this accident on his record.
So, the young man went on his way, and I went on to my friend’s house. Unfortunately, the cost to repair the minor damage was somewhat significant. I should have known. Car repair costs can be crazy. But in the end, it didn’t push me into poverty or anything. Hopefully, I made the right decision as regards the young careless driver.
A few years later my family and I were headed into downtown Florence for Sunday dinner after church. It was a misty day. One of those type of days where the streets get damp and the oil comes to the surface just enough to make them very slippery. I had just stopped at a stop sign when I heard the familiar sound of brakes squealing and tires skidding coming from behind me. I knew what was about to happen. THUNK! I was right. I was rear-ended. Fortunately, the bump was only minor. He had apparently slowed down enough to prevent a BAM!
I got out of my car as did the young man. And once again I was greeted by someone asking for leniency. This man didn’t seem quite as desperate as the one I mentioned earlier, but still he didn’t want to get the authorities involved. This time I had experience behind me. I knew the cost of repairs could be significant even with minor damage. However, upon looking at my bumper, I really didn’t see much of anything. Just a small dent. So, once again I told this young man he could go. But this time I didn’t even attempt to have any repairs done. I guess that’s one advantage to having an older car. A small dent doesn’t really bother you. Had I just drove that car off a lot new, I probably would have been pissed.