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A Bump In the Night

So... Dev had his first little accident last night. He didn't cut the corner tightly enough when pulling into a parking space, and his front bumper clipped the hubcap of the car beside him. He did everything right--went into the restaurant, asked the staff to help him find the car's owner, exchanged info, and spoke with the officer who happened to be there.

Then the poor kid called me and burst into tears while giving an incoherent explanation filled with apologies.

The damage to our car is so small--a dent about the size of a baseball on the bumper and a couple smudges on the paint. It sounds like the other car had damage only to the hubcap. The officer was very helpful and supportive to Dev (who was, apparently, shaking like crazy). The driver of the other car was nice. Since she was driving her parents' car, too, I've put in a call to them so we can all discuss the quickest way to settle the matter. I'm guessing the damage is going to be way below my insurance deductible.

The crappiest part happened when the owner of the car parked on the other side of Dev tried to blame Dev for pre-existing damage to his own vehicle. Fortunately, the officer stepped in to point out there wasn't a smidge of damage on that side of Dev's car so there would be no taking advantage of the situation.

Now my son is totally depressed today over what happened, and what he might have to pay. For him, this is a HUGE deal--something I have to remind myself of so I don't minimalize his feelings by using my own yardstick for measurement. Considering what I and my sister pulled as teenagers--things my parents knew of, and things they never heard of--an accident such as Dev's would have been the smallest of blips, discussed over dinner and pretty much settled by dessert. But Dev is such a good kid, the accident is the worst thing he's done in years!

I'm glad he had work today. Physical stuff has a way of purging self-accusations sometimes. Hopefully he'll talk with Grandpa tonight, and that will help him stop beating himself up.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
Poor guy. If it helps, tell him he's lucky he doesn't live out here, where damage the size of a quarter costs several hundred dollars to "fix."
Mar. 2nd, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC)
:) I've been passing along stories about me, his auntie, and his grandmother in an attempt to give him perspective. He's at least moved from "I totally screwed up everything!" to a more reasonable, "Man, that totally sucks."
Mar. 2nd, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'm thankful it was a minor fender bender and Dev didn't get hurt. I feel so bad for him, though, guilting over this. Hope he recovers his dignity soon. :)

You're a great mom.
Mar. 2nd, 2014 10:29 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it was minor, too. I knew the moment he said two innocuous words in that phone call that something was wrong. The first two questions out of my mouth were Are you hurt? and Are you safe right now?</i>

I think he'll feel better once we get a definitive word from the car owner and/or insurance company. Until that comes, his imagination will continue to create scenarios in which he owes ten thousand dollars, can't afford insurance, and loses his driver's license.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 4th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
You express exactly what I was feeling! Part of me was glad he took it seriously, while the other part was saying (on the inside), "Dude, it's not a big deal."

I thanked my dad profusely for taking Dev back from the brink of over-the-top self-blame. Since Dev's dad passed away, my dad has done an awesome job of stepping into that role of loving guidance and support.

Mar. 3rd, 2014 04:55 am (UTC)
Poor guy, how distressing! I'm glad it was just a wee little ding. It'll cost him a couple hundred probably, and for that low, low price he's gotten a lesson that will keep him safer behind the wheel for the rest of his life: he's learned just how quickly a minor error can go Terrifyingly Wrong when one is piloting a ton of metal. He can thank his lucky stars that he didn't learn that lesson at a mile a minute, or on ice, or on a back road on a foggy night. This will be a springboard to a whole lot of good conversations about safe driving and emergency response, that otherwise you might not have together. And most importantly, no one got hurt.

In all honesty, I could wish every new driver to have a similar experience, just about the time they were good enough at driving to get a little cocky and stop paying such close attention. It might save a whole lot of lives.

Mar. 4th, 2014 03:17 am (UTC)
I'm totally impressed that the boy has successfully driven under this winter's conditions without an accident. Really, our country roads have been so consistently terrible, it's amazing he hasn't spun out! (In the last six weeks, we've had about five or six days of seeing pavement rather than snow and ice on our roads.)

And he has totally deconstructed the accident to identify what he did wrong. Much of that is motivated by the fact he gets his own car--my dad's old car, an almost-classic Nissan Z-car--by the end of this month, and is determined to drive it well and safely.

It was, as you say, a good and well-timed accident. We still haven't heard from the other folks as to how they want to resolve it, though. I'll be in touch with them Friday if they don't contact us first.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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