Decking Halls and Denting Fenders

It was 8:30 Christmas night. I had just left my brother’s house and was heading home after an afternoon of Christmas
movies and snacks when I decided to swing by Walgreen’s to check on any
after Christmas sales. Entering the parking lot, I was slowly proceeding
closer to the store when I noticed a car about two parking spaces in front of me backing
out rather quickly. I slammed on my brakes and honked. The car continued out of the
space and swung backwards directly towards me, gaining momentum as she
swung. I honked more. I honked up until the moment she slammed into my
front bumper. Other people were coming and going and had looked my way
as I honked. Several looked over when they heard the impact but no one
stopped. Who wants to get involved with a Christmas night fender bender?
At first I thought the other car was leaving as it kept going but she
did stop a few parking spots away. I pulled into a space near her and
got out, holding my trembling dog. “I know you,” the brunette said as we
got out of our cars, although I did not recognize her. “I work at Nine West.” Then she added the question
that was my first clue that I might have a little trouble: “What happened?”
“You backed into me.” I responded.
“I didn’t see you,” she said.
“Well, I was about two parking spaces away from you when I saw you back out. I honked and kept honking as you swung around towards me.”
“You honked?” she asked.
“Yes, I was honking loud enough to wake the dead until you backed into me.”
“I didn’t hear any honking,” she said, sounding puzzled.
“There was definitely honking,” I said emphatically.
“Oh, my radio was up high. In fact I was reaching down to turn it off when…” her voice trailed off.
“We need to exchange cards with insurance information,” I told her adding it didn’t look like the impact did much more than crumple the plate on the front of the Jeep, but it was dark and hard to tell if the impact did any more damage. She said all she saw was “some white stuff” on the back of her car and then she asked, “So, what is it we need to do?”
I repeated, “We need to exchange insurance info. If you give me your number, I will call and let you know if I have any problems.”
She asked if I had a pen as she pawed through her purse. Then she
glanced sideways at me and gave me a cagey look. “Too bad there are is
no one around to tell us what happened.”
I threw up my hands in frustration. She was right – no one had waited
around to act in my behalf. It was Christmas night, after all.
“There is NO doubt at all what happened, and I am not going to play this
game with you,” I said and I entered the Walgreens to see if anyone saw
what had happened. I told my story to a couple of people and while one
person said she heard me honking, she had already been entering the
store and had not seen what happened. No one else claimed to have seen
anything. The clerk asked, “Did you call someone?”
“Who should I call?” I asked in some frustration. “She is playing the ‘no witnesses’ game and no one
who saw it stuck around to support me.” I also noted police no longer respond to fender benders in parking lots.
Miss Nine West had left the parking lot when I got back out.
The irony of it is several years ago I was on my way to my parents’
house on Christmas day when I witnessed a car run a red light and hit
another vehicle at the corner of Highway 100 and Old Hickory Blvd. I
stayed at the scene keeping one of the drivers in my car along with his
dog until the police arrived. I gave my report to the police and even
talked to the attorney for one of the drivers later. I was late for
Christmas lunch that year, but I had done my duty as a citizen.
Cynics say no good deed goes unpunished. I would not have chosen
Christmas to be the day I proved the cynics true.
If you witness a wreck or even a fender bender in a parking lot, do us
all a favor and stay around to tell someone what you saw. Miss Nine West
is still driving around Nashville with her radio turned up so high she
can’t hear a Jeep honking right behind her. No telling when she will
next have to reach down to adjust the volume. She got away with it once.
Next time it might be your car.

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