I am so happy that I finally got my SUV back after having a loaner for the past week. If you asked me 1 month ago, I thought this whole thing was going to be a debacle.
Superbowl Sunday in Chicagoland was a major snowstorm. That morning, I wanted to go to the store really quickly before the snow got worse later. As I’m sitting at a stop light, I hear and feel a THUD and I realize I’ve been rear ended.
The woman who rear ended me appears normal, apologizes, and we agree to move to a nearby parking lot. Meanwhile, I call police so they can make a report.
When we get to the parking lot, we both get out of our cars and then-
Woman: Did you call police?
Me: Yes, I’m pretty sure I’ve got some moderate damage. I’ll need a report.
Woman: Well, do we have to get the police involved?
Me: Ummm yes. I need something on the record.
Woman: Well, I should’ve mentioned my drivers license is suspended. I’m afraid if the police come that they will arrest me AND I just got of out jail a few weeks ago AND I’m pregnant so I don’t want to go through that again. I promise I do have insurance though. Let me look for the card- it’s through E-ssurance…
Me: (I say nothing-heart is beating fast-thoughts are: I’m screwed. Couldn’t I have been rear-ended by like a 75 year old woman with her life together that has Allstate? Also, why is this woman telling me about her jail time etc)
Woman: I’m sorry. I know this all sounds crazy. I’m trying to get my life together. I was on my way to pick up my daughter. I’m trying to do the best I can, but I need to drive or I can’t make it to work or to get my daughter.
Me: (Still quiet: Now I want to cry. I imagine this woman has a lot of problems, but then I imagine she is me. She is a mother. She has a child to care for. She’s around my age. She looks put together. Her car is decent, she is well spoken. We are in Oak Lawn, close to my home, maybe hers. It makes me sad. I think that even though we are similar, we are so different. What happened to her life that she’s been in jail?) All these thoughts in 10 seconds running through my mind…
Woman: Here’s my card
Me: I feel bad for your situation. How do you have insurance though, if your license is suspended?
Woman: It’s valid. PLEASE can we just settle this without police?
Me: I’m not sure. They’ve already been called. I know what you’re telling me is what you claim to be true-but what if it’s not?What if I leave here and find out there is a problem with your insurance? What if I have to pay for this? I can’t just throw $500 out the window to pay a deductible and go through my insurance.
Woman: Okay, well would you let me say that my friend was driving my car instead?
Me: Thinking (What???? Uggghhhhh. This is getting crazy- I am not sure I can do that. I don’t want to get in trouble for this. I don’t want to get taken. I am having a crisis of conscience here-help her or is she just running a scam here…)
Woman: My friend is coming- I can still use my insurance. I will just say I was in the passenger seat.
Me: I guess I’ll go along with this. I am uncomfortable but I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. Please be truthful, or you will ruin my willingness to help others in the future.
Woman’s friend arrives…
5 minutes later police arrive…
We all go along with the friend- as- the- driver story. I am a little scared I am breaking a law-which one I don’t know-by doing this. I am concerned that this is going to be when my compassion gets taken for a ride.
Police leave and the woman thanks me. I tell her she’ll make me lose a little faith in humanity if her insurance is fraudulent or some other issue.
I leave realizing that if she went to jail, it wouldn’t change her insurance. She either had it or didn’t have it. If she went to jail I’d still pursue her insurance for repairs and if she didn’t go to jail I’d still pursue her insurance for repairs. If she got arrested it’d mean no change for me. It would have meant a major difference for her. Was it up to me to uphold the law and report her or was it up to me to believe her trying to straighten up, try to understand her, and maybe give her a break-for today.
Well, I’m happy to report my car got fixed-everything was legit. I know I went out on a limb with her, but I’m okay with that. I’m happy I did what I did. We all need a break sometimes, someone to believe in us even when we don’t expect or maybe deserve it.