It had been a good day. I had actually gotten away for a shopping trip that had been relaxing and successful. I made a final stop on Broadway.
When I returned to my husband’s pick-up truck, I noticed the light at the intersection was red. Great. I might have time to back out before the traffic resumed.
I think I looked back and then slowly began to back out before traffic resumed. CRUNCH! I looked again and saw the red car right behind me.
Quickly I pulled forward again and sat there, hoping I was just hearing things. I noticed the empty parking space beside me, then I saw the traffic behind me begin to move.
The red car behind me began to move. For a split second I thought it really didn’t happen, but then he pulled into the empty space.
As he came around the back of his car, I stepped down from the truck, closed the door, and stared at two huge dents — one in the back panel and one in the door — of his car.
My face must have gotten really pale because the young man said, “No, Ma’am. You didn’t make both of them. You only got the door!”
He reached into his vehicle and pulled out the estimate to repair the rear panel that he had just gotten. It had been hit by another car at his workplace the day before.
I assured him it was my fault and we did have insurance. Then I asked, “Now what do we do?”
He answered, “Boy, I’m not sure. I’ve never been in my car before when it got hit.”
We agreed that we should call the police, but then I told him I’d rather go home so he could talk with my husband.
He said he could do that. I began to try to give him directions to our house and ended up by suggesting he follow me. Then I asked if he knew his way around town. Surprise, he lived just down the street from us.
On the way home I realized I had to tell Bill that I had wrecked his new truck. Actually all the damage was done to the other car. I only had a little scratch on the back bumper.
I practiced three different diplomatic ways to tell him, but when I got home I just opened the door and yelled, “Well, I wrecked your truck!”
He was really calm about it. He even asked me if I was all right before he went out to check the truck.
He met and and talked with the young man and then he called the police.
The officer they sent was very nice. The first thing he said was, “You should have called from the scene. You should not have moved the vehicles.”
When I explained, “I just wanted to get home so I could go to my room and cry,” he didn’t even laugh, out loud.
I told him it was my fault and I was really sorry, but he gave me a ticket anyway. So my name was in the police report and the mayor’s court report in The Daily Advocate, and I had to pay a fine and court costs.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Our five sons have nicknamed me “Crash,” and I just have to grin and bear it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in The Greenville Advocate on Feb. 8, 1998.