Why would someone hit my car in a parking lot and not leave a note?

I should have heeded the turned front wheels of the vehicle I parked next to when I pulled into the breakfast restaurant a couple of days ago. The only thing I remember is it was a white SUV type vehicle. Yesterday, after I backed my car out of the garage to get a ladder down, I noticed a small dent and white paint scratches on the  front right part of my car, made by a vehicle that was taller than mine. My speculation is my fellow breakfast patron (and it would have been a man, as I did not notice any female patrons in the uncrowded restaurant), backed out in a hurry and did not realize his wheels were turned and kissed my car with his left front.

The dent is not too bad, but is noticeable. Yet, what annoys me more is that there was no note and no one reentered the restaurant with a mea culpa. No one walked in and declared “who is the owner of the…….?”  It annoys me as someone decided that it was easier to just slink away. It annoys me someone would wrong another human being and not take responsibility. It annoys me how someone could be unaccountable. Of course, it would have taken more time out of both our days. Yet, it would have only been a trading of insurance cards and information. Now, I will be out my deductible to get the dent repaired.

Folks, I am far from perfect and make mistakes. We all do. I do my best to own up to them. That is what being accountable and responsible looks like. “I screwed up. I am sorry. Here is my insurance information. Please let me know if there are any problems.” This is what we owe each other. My hypothesis is the person got on his mobile phone when he jumped in the car (or before), started backing out, hit me, said “oh s–t”, looked around, corrected the car and drove on.

It should not be this hard. I wrote a post a few months back about a University of Toronto and University of California at Berkeley study on the impact of higher net worth and cheating. Here is a link:  https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/the-psychology-of-wealth-can-make-you-less-compassionate/. Through numerous measures, the study indicated a higher propensity to cheat if the person had a higher  income relative to others. The statistics revealed a 2 to 1 (and as much as 4 to 1 on same tests) higher propensity to cheat for high income individuals than those who had less. I am not saying the person who hit my car had high income. I don’t know. To me this is less relevant than the fact that people do cheat, even on unimportant things and for not significant financial gains. The loss here would have been time and maybe an increase in rating on insurance for the next year. The insurance company would have handled the rest.

I recognize this post won’t change someone’s stripes. I just ask that for those who do read this we encourage everyone to try to do the right thing. And, I when I do the right thing, I universally feel better about myself as I did what others expect of me. That is all we can ask – let’s be accountable and responsible to each other.

22 thoughts on “Why would someone hit my car in a parking lot and not leave a note?

  1. I’m sorry, BTG! This stinks. I like what you say about owning up, but I have to say that it is hard to do. It is something I always do, but it is always such a brave act for me. I suspect people don’t own up because it is so hard, and others may not feel any sort of guilt or responsibility. I do agree that doing so is the right thing to do and that it works out better if you do own up. I had a similar situation last year when a woman pulled into a space next to me and her passenger (a child) threw open the door and hit my door, denting it. They ignored it and walked into the store, but when I couldn’t open or close my door without it popping and getting stuck, I went into the store and found her!

  2. Ooh, I thought of another story about this. At the big amusement park here, a woman driving a Cadillac Escalade (this relates your psychology of wealth story) hit a car in the parking lot and then got out and left a note. The driver came back and found the note. It was blank! The park has security cameras and they were able to go back and find the license plate. The police found her!

    • Thanks again. To me this shows a Machiavellian bent. I know I am supposed to do this, so I will pretend to do the right thing, when I am really not. This example is a metaphor for our politicians’ modus operandi.

  3. There is such an attitude of “I’m too busy” and used as a justification to not do the right thing. Personally, I believe we’ve created such an “Its all about me” nation, what with our misplaced self-esteem movement, that a person just can’t take responsibility for anything they’ve done wrong. By driving away, they don’t have to deal with it.

    What with helicopter moms and all today, just imagine what the second or third generation behind ours is going to be like.

    Emily and you are asking for a set of values that I think are rapidly diminishing in today’s world.

    Good post

    • Thanks Barney. You reminded me of a study at a conference for ministers and other religious leaders. One workshop was scheduled across the campus. The study test subject was someone in need along the path to the workshop. The first group was told the meeting was starting in five minutes and the second group was told the meeting was in twenty minutes. Since the first group was rushed, very few relative to the second group stopped to help this person in need. Since the second group had more time, they were more inclined to stop. So, even religious leaders were impacted by time. I had forgotten this study until I saw your quotes.

  4. I’m really sorry that this happened to you but thanks for sharing your story. We all need to be reminded to own up to our mistakes and remember that others, particularly our children, are watching and learning from how we respond to every one of them.

    Great post!

  5. the jerks in this world will always remind us to be grateful for those with integrity! i could say more, but it’s best i hold my tongue, as it would not be kind comment about the elusive bang-and-run driver…

    i will pass on something someone said to me – out of the blue one day… ‘lisa, you’ve had your share of disappointments, but instead of going inward with them, you went OUTward and did not let them taint who you are – in fact they helped form the strong person that you are…’ he said he knew one other person he’d met who went ‘outward…’ and seemed to affect others in positive ways b/k of that.

    so to you, i pass the baton — go out with it and don’t give that person the power of ruining your day/week/month… by new year’s, it will be an old memory and not worth the dark clouds that kept the sun from smiling on you!

    i’m so far behind on reading, and the internet is slow today so i’m basically spinning my wheels trying to open pages and get the ‘like’ ‘comment’ ‘reply’ to work! i’ve finally made it on this post, and i hope that it finds its way to you!

    have a good day, and don’t let that horrid person affect the quality of your day!

    • Raye, thanks. Ironically, today I had a chance to do the right thing. While walking on a wooded trail, I came upon a wallet filled with credit cards and money. I saw the name and was going to mail it to the address indicated on the license, if no phone number existed therein. After about five minutes, a bike rider came upon me who resembled the picture and asked if I had seen a black wallet. To his relief, I relayed where I found it and handed it over. The guy was answering a call from his mother and the wallet must have fallen out. It was no trouble to do the right thing and I left uplifted knowing I did so. I relay this not to toot my own horn, but just to provide an example that it does not have to be hard to be responsible to others. Maybe this was my kismet based on what transpired to my car. Thanks for the support and comments. BTG

      • hey
        i’m going backwards thru posts as i try to catch up on what i’ve missed; your story reminds me of one when i was quite young.. i retrieved a wallet from a dove field and did not even open it – i presented it to my father who presented it to the land owner, who was very grateful – apparently there was a LOT of cash in the wallet! some of us are lucky that there’s not the slightest temptation for ‘finders keepers’ when it comes to other’s property.

        it’s still terrible that someone left you w/the damage to your auto, but i hope that it doesn’t sting as much now…

        i’ve missed all of you!

      • Thanks. Great story. Doing the right thing should not be so newsworthy should it? You are missed as well. By the way, I saw a great story on Sixty Minutes about the “LandFILLharmonic Orchestra” of kids in Paraguay. Someone solders instruments together from landfill products and another teaches the kids how to play. Amazing doesn’t do justice to what they have done with trash.

      • that’s a wonderful project! there are so many great people doing great things in this world!

        yesterday after reading your ‘global warming’ post, i received a reply from a friend; i’d asked him, ‘car 54, where are you this week?’ and he replied, ‘in warsaw to attend the global warming conference…’

        HOO-RAH! (i also sent him the link to your post!)


      • Thanks. It seems we the people need to be the ambassadors sharing good ideas. This is one of the good things about the internet. We need more good stories shared as lubrication to the squeaky wheels that get more notoriety. Take care, BTG

  6. I’m glad you wrote this post. People need to understand that there is another person at the other end of their wrong doing. I’m sorry it happened and that it’s lousy. I have had my car keyed, egged and had notes left on my windshield by some anonymous individual simply for parking my car legally in a public street. How awful it must be to live in constant fear of the consequences of our actions.

    • Judy, thanks for sharing. I am sorry you have gone through all those things. I was troubled by the one Emily noted where a woman who hit someone’s car in a parking lot and then acted like she was writing a note on the windshield and it turned out to be blank. I guess some have a different view of right and wrong. Keying, egging is just cold hearted. Take care, BTG

  7. Note to Readers: Well, an unfortunate sequel to the story was discovered last night. My oldest son’s car got a nice little dent above and behind the gas panel door. It looks like someone swiped him with their mirror or maybe backed into him while his car resided in a parking lot. Not a large dent, but a noticeable one. Like with mine, no note.

  8. Note to Readers: Another sequel this time for my car. I saw some white paint on my front fender corner. Someone must have parked to close from the other side of the parking lot. Lovely. My car at least looks more like my aging body, getting more imperfect each day.

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