Ever dented a stranger’s car? I did. Ever wanted to drive off? I didn’t.

Talk is cheap until it hits your pocketbook.

“Momma, I think I accidentally dented a car,” confessed Caroline sheepishly. “Well, Honey, it happens. Just do the right thing just like we taught you and leave a note on the car. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of the dent.”

I felt awesome about my parenting skills and congratulated myself on being a nice person. Only a week later the same thing happened to me.  Out of what seemed to be nowhere, a huge gust of wind slammed my door into another car in the parking lot of Micheal’s. UGGGH!

My own words echoed to me; do the right thing. So, I did. I placed a note on the car, took a picture and drove off. Caroline never heard from her dent but I got a call that very day. In fact, the woman whose car I dented was an employee of Michael’s.

I sought the help of my body shop friend who suggested what he would charge to repair the dent so I recommended to the woman whose car I dented the cost. She told me that SHE had a friend who did the same type of work and SHE would let ME know the price. Well, I just knew I was doomed to pay much more than I thought.

Weeks passed and I finally got the call that the dent was fixed and her bill was ready to be paid. I drove back to Michael’s and approached the Help Desk. “I am looking for Susan,” I said. “Oh, you are the woman who dented her car.” Then over the loudspeaker, I heard these words, “Susan, she’s here.” I wanted to hide behind the shower curtain display.

From a distance, I heard, “Are you Jane?” I seriously thought about saying, “No, she just left.” “Uh, yes,” I fearfully confessed. She grabbed the phone and over the store speaker, she said. “Assistance is needed at customer service.” This must have been “code” since one by one the store clerks appeared; I felt like the wagons were circling and I was doomed. Then, finally, Susan appeared and said, “I wanted all of my fellow clerks to meet the woman who dented my car and to also thank her for doing the right thing.” 

A flurry of emotions hit me all at once: relief, gratitude and sadness. It would have been so easy to do what so many others had apparently done to these hard-working men and women. It’s just so convenient and less expensive to drive off and never look back.

It is hard to do the right thing when it involves money, time, and convenience. But doing the right thing is the right thing to do.

Along with many “thank you’s” and words of appreciation, one of the best perks was the bill presented to me was less than what I expected. My new friend, Susan, did the right thing, too.

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