Story Time: One Hour

I love telling this story because it displays both the worst and best sides of humanity… and also the reason insurance companies can sometimes be big fat meanies.

Image Credit: College Vintage 

It was a cold fall evening and I had just spent all day at the university studying for exams, working and overall getting my butt kicked from every direction. It was one of those evenings when the only thought that clouded my mind was being at home by the fireplace in fuzzy socks and drinking tea (a solid night of self-care if you will). 

Well, of course, life likes to throw curveballs and this curveball came in the form a privileged middle-aged woman who seemed to be lying in wait for some big cash, like a lion pouncing on a mouse. Maybe that’s too dramatic, but ya’ll, I am still salty.

We were in the turn lane, the light turned green, everyone began driving forward. At this point, I made a mistake and I will take responsibility. I suppose the stress and exhaustion caused a brain misfunction because I had believed the car in front of my car was moving forward with the rest. I slowly released my foot off of the break and

 

 *clink*

 

My car had lightly bumped the one in front of me. I immediately put on the breaks and with no one behind me went in reverse. My initial thought was “OH *%&#!!!” But when I realized I had only hit the car with about as much force as itty-bitty mice high-fiving each other, I figured it’d be okay. 

 

*insert upside down smiling emoji here*

Image Credit: flickr 

We were far enough up in the turn lane that we didn’t need to pull off the road. I got out of my car and immediately began checking her back for scratches; nothing, absolutely nothing. I took a deep breath. At this point, she was still fumbling around in her car and finally got out. 

 

I said, “Hey I am so sorry about this.”

 

In response, I got an “Are you *bleepin* serious??? Way to *bleepin* go!!!”

 

I asked, “Are you okay?”

 

“NO. MY BACK HURTS”

 

Great. 

 

I told her there wasn’t even a scratch on her car and she snapped at me that there was most likely “underlying damage”. She then told me she had already been injured in a previous accident and that this had set everything off again.

(Friendly reminder about just how softly my care had actually hit: the only sign on her car was a slight dust ring from my license plate)

 

“IM CALLING THE POLICE”

 

Of course, you are.

 

At this point I had gotten a little emotional, this was my first bad encounter on the road (had already had an awful day) and wasn’t sure what to do. I informed her that without any damage the most we could do was switch insurance information. She went off again about the “underlying damage.”

So, we waited for the officer. He walked up and asked what the problem was. I brought him over to the horrific damage, so he could arrest me. The look on his face was priceless.  

Image Credit: Dreaming in Tigrinya

“There is literally no damage here.”

 

“UNDERLYING DAMAGE, it happened to me before.” the woman responded.

 

The officer got onto the ground and look up under the car with the flashlight.

 

“There is… No Damage.”

 

I immediately liked this officers sass and had a feeling he was going to be a blessing. He informed us that in a situation like this he should not have been called (since ya know, there is real crime in the city) and we should have just traded insurance. He then said, “There are two things I can do here: 1) file a report and have you two switch insurance information or 2) you still switch insurance information, and someone is going to get a ticket.”

My heart dropped. A ticket? I could barely afford my last tuition bill and was coming up very short for the next one. I looked the woman in the eyes and said “If there isn’t a need for a ticket like the officer said, I would really appreciate to just switch information. I can hardly afford college, much less a $500 ticket.”  

 

She looked immediately to the officer, “Yeah, no, I would be more comfortable with a ticket being given.”

 

My heart shattered. I was in shock that somebody could be that horrifically uncaring. I realized since she was faking an injury it probably meant she would need me to get a ticket to help her case. I lost my breath I was so angry at humanity in that moment.

We began filling out our reports; she sounded like she was already on the phone with a lawyer and was telling the officer “her entire car jolted forward over a foot” from the impact.

After she had driven off in her “terribly damaged” car, the officer came by my side and told me he was sorry that this had happened. He informed me that he knew her type and that he wouldn’t be giving me a ticket. He gave me advice on what to do next with the insurance company and even warned me of other tactics she may use. In the same hour, my heart had been broken it was suddenly overflowing again. That officer’s kindness made me feel at peace and offered encouragement. After a few minutes of conversation, he made sure I would be okay driving home and we went our separate ways.

 

Within the span of about one hour, I had seen both the best and worst sides of humanity.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Well, of course, she ended up putting in a claim, and once it was denied she sued the insurance company. They offered a deal where she could make a few hundred dollars in exchange for dropping the claim (keep in mind again, a few hundred dollars, when there was no damage or injury). But that was not enough.  Sadly, she ended up getting thousands of dollars and I am still here barely able to pay for college *internally screaming*. 

It is heartbreaking that people like this exist, but truly I tell you, this is still a story of winning. I realized that no matter how awful some people can be, there is still ALWAYS good in the world to counter it. If you feel like there are just no good people left in the world, then you are not looking in the right places. Keep looking, and don’t give up hope for humanity. This was one of the worst human encounters I’ve had, yet a lot of light shone through.  

Another lesson to be learned here is to stand your ground. I was a young college girl, clearly scared and confused, and this older woman decided to take advantage of that. I wish I would’ve stood strong and stood up for myself. If you ever find yourself here, know your rights and know what is right.

Image Credit: flickr

Finally, I wanted to offer a little bit of extra encouragement. In a world that feels like it’s mostly made up of yucky people like this one, choose to be the police officer in this story! 

 

THE END