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Lucking out: a parking lot accident

On the Bright Side

Mel Makaw.

I drove a friend to Bakersfield the other day, to a medical appointment on Truxton. We parked in the clinic parking lot, across the lot from the front door, and went inside.

Not long after we got there, while I was waiting and reading my book, a couple of women came in and approached the reception desk. I didn't pay much attention to them until the receptionist asked the room in general who had the rust-colored Escape in the parking lot. I said I did.

One of the women turned to me then and said she had just hit my car with hers. She was ready with her ID and insurance information.

We went outside to see the damage, which appeared at first to be not too bad. A few scratches were what I noticed right away; later I saw that the side panel had separated from the rear panel, leaving a half inch gap in the side of my car.

Back inside, out of the heat, I took pictures of the woman's ID and insurance card with my phone (that phone comes in handy in so many different ways!). I also thanked her profusely for letting me know she had hit my car.

After the woman had left and I was alone again in the waiting room, I couldn't help but marvel at the fact that she had made the effort to find me and admit her mistake. Too many times we hear stories of hit and runs, especially of other parking lot accidents that are only discovered when someone returns to their car and sees new damage.

It would have been so easy for that woman to have just kept on driving, not going out of her way to fess up to damaging my car. I was inside a clinic, not able to see my car – I would not have known about the collision until I was leaving the place (and she could have been long gone by then).

That little incident – the accident and the fact that someone went out of their way to cop to it and was willing to take responsibility for it – went a long way in restoring my faith in humankind.

Too many stories abound about people who forgo doing the right thing and sometimes even feel good about getting away with something, who only do the right thing if and when they're caught in the act of hurting someone else or someone else's property. How refreshing to have a first-hand experience of someone doing the right thing.

I then worried about how long it might take to fix my car, how much of a hassle that would be, and how time consuming. But I filed a claim with State Farm the next day, and they have been very helpful and easy to work with.

And my story gets even better too. I took my car to Scotts Auto Body here in town for an estimate, and Gabe was able to pop the panels of my car back into place while I watched. Never mind that it made me feel like I have a little plastic car, I was relieved that I didn't have to replace those panels, which is what I had imagined would be necessary.

So a shout out to Scotts also, for not gouging me for unnecessary repairs or replacements!

Too many times it's so easy to feel down, to wonder why bad stuff has to happen (why me? what did I do to deserve this?), to feel sorry for myself that I have to go through any kind of trauma and/or drama, whether big or little, real or imagined.

It's nice to remember that every now and then, I just luck out. It's not always doom and gloom, it's not always horrible when something bad happens. I can still ask why me? And what did I do to deserve this? And sometimes, just like there is when bad stuff happens, there is no rational answer for why good things happen too.

All in all, even though I had to deal with some damage to my car, I feel I really lucked out that day. I think it's good to remember that those good things happen more often than we think they might, if we only look for the blessings in whatever challenges we may face.

© 2024 Mel Makaw. Mel, local writer/photographer and author of On the Bright Side, a Collection of Columns (available locally at Tehachapi Arts Center and Healthy Hippie Trading Co.), welcomes your comments at [email protected]/.