I See Assholes Everywhere

The Bush Whacker is in town this week and our volley of phone tagging finally ended Thursday afternoon, at which time we agreed to meet the next day for dinner at Athens. But just as I was about to sign off from my day job, my work phone rang: it was a client two time zones away. I figured I could get through this client’s training on the spot rather than book an appointment for later, so I did that …but by the time I diarized the call and the one I was diarizing when that client called, I knew I would be a few minutes late meeting the Bush Whacker. I hate being late, whether it’s for work or a social engagement, but …oh well.

I hop into Junior, swing by Saddam’s first, then head down Robie and Quinpool, hoping I wouldn’t have too much trouble finding a spot to park Junior. I turn up Harvard Street and, lo and behold, I immediately find a spot. I take it, but just as I do, a minivan pulls out of the tiny parking lot across the street, and I see and hear it bump the car parked at the exit of the parking lot. The minivan drives away but turns on the nearby street, and the male passenger comes over to the car to inspect the damage on the bumper of the car they’d just struck. But he simply shrugged his shoulders, went back to the minivan, and shortly afterwards they were gone.

Through all of this, I pretended being busy gathering my shit before stepping out of Junior, but really I was looking to see what the minivan people would do and fumbling for a pen and a piece of paper. When I realized the minivan people had left the area and not left a note on the car, I ripped the paper in two, keeping the piece on which I had written down the make and plate number of the van and writing on the other, “I witnessed what happened to your bumper. Call me at 555-5555,” which I then wedged under the wiper of the parked car.

The owner of the parked left me a voice-mail message later in the evening and called me back this morning. “Thank you so much for doing that,” she said, at which point I explained to her what had happened. And as to what motivated me to leave my number, I told her how I’d be pissed if that had been Junior, plus the fact I know that such damage could easily cost nearly $1,000 to fix. I gave her all my contact information as well as my consent to be contacted again by whomever if more information was required of me.

“I was just coming out of Athens and was heading to Exhibition Park with friends,” she said. “Thanks to your note, I had a good time anyway because I knew I didn’t have to fume about the damage and never finding out what had happened.”

I don’t know what this lady’s financial situation is, but I know what it feels like to be poor and having unexpected car repair bills. I could have chosen not to get involved, but that would have been as wrong as the minivan people not owning up to their responsibility. And yeah, there’s a selfish side to my action: I like to view it as a tiny deposit in the Bank of Good Karma, under the “kindness of stranger” column of the ledger.

By the way, dinner with the Bush Whacker was most enjoyable and afterwards we had a fun visit with BeeGoddessM and Stephanie.

Update, Mon., 15 May: The police called me around 7:30 this morning to confirm my report. I think somebody is going to get an unexpected call today. They should have done the right thing to begin with…

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