Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I was sitting at the intersection, waiting for the long red light to turn green. The story I was thinking on for my next blog post was shining crystal clear when, BAM!, I was rear-ended.

My head snapped back shattering my thoughts with mind-numbing force. My eyes rolled upward as if in search for something behind my lids that might explain what just happened, then just as suddenly dropped back down, trying to focus on something familiar. There was the sound of something like a bone being crunched as my Toyota lurched forward.

And then it was over. A scant few seconds had passed.

The young mother came running up to my door. “Are you all right?” she said, the worry and fear as evident in her voice as it was in her eyes. “I’m so sorry. I just looked away for a second. Are you all right?”

“I think so,” I said, mentally running through my body to check. “Yeah. I’m okay. Just a little shook-up I guess.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked again.

By now, I knew everything had checked out okay. After all, it was only a bumper-thumper. And that sound that was something like a bone being crunched? Just the sound of her bumper smacking mine.

She said there were a few scratches on the bumper but no other damage. I asked her about her car and she said no damage on hers either, other than a few scratches.

She asked if I thought we should call the police and exchange appropriate information.

And then I did an old-school thing. I said, “No, that’s what bumpers are for.”

Her relief was palpable. “I’m so sorry,” she repeated yet once again. She headed back to her car as I slowly drove through the intersection. (It was after all a green light by then.)

I know, that’s not what insurance agents and lawyers, especially lawyers, advise you to do. But that’s what makes it an old-school thing. We call it, a judgment call.

No one was hurt. No damage was done to either vehicle. (Scratches on a bumper really don’t count.) Neither one of us wanted to call the police or our insurance agents, especially at the chance that even a simple bumper-thumper might raise our rates.

And so we made a judgment call. Trusting that neither one of us was going to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

And we were right in our judgment.

Sometimes you have to trust your instinct.

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