An open letter to the woman who's car I injured

What's the use of having a blog if you can't name names, right? I had a little accident on my lunch hour today. So with an enormous sense of indignation and a big gin-and-tonic sweating away next to my laptop, I'm ready to tell Joyce Omer what's on my mind:

Dear Joyce,

I still don't quite know how it happened. I haven't been at fault in an accident since I was 16 (25 years ago!), and I'm generally very good at parallel parking, but it was absolutely my fault. I was too close to your car and turned too soon, yanking the front bumper halfway off your BMW.

I completely understand why you'd be upset, I would be as well, but there are a few things you should know. That Land Rover I was driving? Got it in March, used. Prior to that I was driving a 1999 Blazer with no heat or A/C, an acceleration problem, and a door that often refused to close. So when we were assessing the damage and I mumbled "my car seems to be ok" it really wasn't meant for you. It was, I believe, my mind trying to assure me that I hadn't just fucked up the nicest thing I've ever owned. I didn't expect you to say "oh good." I didn't expect you to say anything really. And that's why when you said "I don't care about your car" I was really caught off guard.

Because of the way I was raised, the next thing I did was apologize. It's what one does when they've damaged someone else's property. Your reply was "I've been hit three times in this car, I'll accept your apology but don't expect me to be nice about it." I guess I didn't really expect you to be warm, but I didn't expect you to be so hateful either. They call them "accidents" for a reason. It's a terrible shame that your pretty little convertable has been hit so many times, but frankly I'm not responsible for the first two and I would think someone of your age (around my mother's age I'm guessing) would understand that.

After apolgizing, we went into the Barkery where I asked them to photocopy my insurance card. I took the paper and I wrote my name, my home address, and my cell phone number. I let you copy down my drivers license information so you could be sure I was being honest. You then threw your business card at me. Again, I'm not expecting you to be grateful, but I didn't have to do any of this. I could have let you do all the writing. (By the way, when I went back into the Barkery to buy the poop bags I forgot, the staff was appalled by the way you acted. If you need something dog related I suggest you try Petco for a while.)

Back outside, I hope you noticed that I stuck around while you checked with the police, again, something I wasn't required to do. When you drove around the block to "see if your car was driveable," I stayed. And when you then decided your car wasn't driveable (and your bumper wasn't dragging, even though you said it was) I stayed while you called the police back, even though I called my boyfriend (a lawyer) who assured me I was free to go.

And finally, when you said you needed my license plate number, do you remember what I did? I went to my car, took out an index card, and wrote my plate number down for you. The way you grabbed it and shoved it in your purse without looking at me was especially nice. In hindsight, given your performance what I should have done was say "then you should write it down before I drive away." But I didn't do that. I wrote it down for you, because I'm a decent man, and I damaged your car, and that's what a decent man does.

I guess that decency is what this entire letter is about. I damaged your car, and I tried to do what was decent and right. You, conversely, decided to be the biggest bitch you could possibly be. I can't think of anything you could have done to be more successful in that endeavor. Well done Madam.

I phoned my insurance company the moment I got back to my office, and they've assured me that you'll be made whole. To be honest, I told them that you were spectacularly mean and that I'd appreciate anything they could do to make the process more painful for you. The claims rep laughed, but I work in commercial insurance and know how this goes, so I'm sure everything will be handled as efficiently as possible and you'll be back on the road in record time.

One last time, let me just say how sorry I am that I crunched your car. But more than that, let me say how sorry I am that you care more for your 325 than you do for showing basic decency to another human being. I drive an expensive car too, and indeed my blog is generally dedicated to the discussion of "things." But in the end, things fail us, and beings are all we truly have. I would have hoped that at this point in your life you'd know that. In that respect I guess that today was more of a tragedy than I originally thought.

Sincerely,
David

68 comments:

Raina said...

Dear Joyce,

Your vehicle has been involved in three accidents because Karma is nothing if not judicious.

Sincerely,

Raina

David said...

Oh how I love you...

Mrs. Blandings said...

Entirely ungracious of me, but I laughed out loud. And I'm with Raina.

David said...

Laughing (and Bombay Sapphire) are all that have kept me from going crazy over the whole thing!

kathleen said...

Be glad it was just a fender bender and that you won't have to see that toxic person again.

David said...

You're right Kathleen. It'll take me a couple days shake it off, but then I'll be fine. And she'll still be awful.

iona said...

You are so sweet. Will you marry me even though I'm old enough to be your mom. I love you dear!!

Garden Lust Journal

iona said...

Oh, I see your gay. Well then, do you need another MOM or older sister?

iona said...

Or we could marry anyway and I could look the other way.

Karen said...

Brilliant! As one who, unfortunately, has been the cause of a fender bender or two, I vow to remember this if I should ever find myself on the other side.

Toad said...

As for your tag, no more mr. nice guy, I hope that isn't true. Lowering yourself to her level would be a tragedy. We love you just as you are.

s. said...

I tapped someone's back bumper (also a BMW) 6 years ago. I stopped my car, was getting the insurance papers out of the glove compartment when he came to my front window, rapped on the glass and screamed, GET OUT OF THE CAR! That was the most polite thing he did during our whole encounter.

I kept his address and information, because I am still so disgusted by his behaviour that I plan to send him a letter reminding him of the event and his dreadful manners. Your epistle served as inspiration.

Thanks!

David said...

Iona: I'm afraid I'm promised to Brett, but I'm flattered by your offer.

Karen: It's certainly going to make me a better man the next time I'm on the other end.

Toad: I talk a big game but when it comes down to it I'm not very good at being anything but me.

Revival Home and Garden said...

I have nothing new to add, other than to say that reading this was the highlight of my day. I have a few letters I may hire you to write on my behalf...a classic! Thanks to Decorno for directing me here.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I hate to benefit from her (bad) behavior, but I do believe you (and Joyce...credit where credit's due) have made my week. And it's hardly Wednesday! Classic indeed.

And don't you feel a wee bit better now? :-) Seriously, I hope it all works out for you.

David said...

S: I've been toying with that idea as well, but wrote this letter to try to purge the demon. We'll see.

Revival & Laura: It's these comments that have assured me that I may have been at fault, but was also in the right. I do feel a bit better, thanks!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

This letter needs to be sent around the world (actually, with the internet, it very well may be)! Your unfailing politeness in the face of such churlishness deserves some sort of big fancy gold star. Unfortunately, poor old Joyce has reaped her own karma. I hope she reads this letter and experiences an epiphany; otherwise, you're right -- it truly is a tragedy for her to pass through this nanosecond of a life with an attitude like that.

You, on the other hand, ROCK. I salute you and the parents who raised you!

David said...

Thanks Lisa. Wow. Thanks.

Lolo said...

You a decent man, indeed.

desiree said...

Well I picked the right day to find your blog. I salute you for polite attitude. Accidents happen and we can all make them slightly better by taking a deep breath and remembering that we could have easily been on the other end. I wish you would have bent my bumper! We could gone and had coffee after!

The Countess of Nassau County said...

You are Obi Wan Kenobi of gracious smack downs.

May the force be with you.

And yes I've gone to way too many Star Wars themed birthday parties this year.

Maison Luxe said...

Oh my gosh, this is so crazy! I was in a fender bender last week, (which catapulted my dog into the front seat from the back, no less!) and the poor man who hit me nearly started to cry he was so upset. My car was nearly a total loss after the accident, but his apologies and making sure I (and my dog) were okay totally diffused the situation. After exchanging info, we shook hands and off he went with his broken car, and off I went in mine. A car accident is just that, an accident, and good for you for taking the high road!

MaryBeth said...

The best thing I have ever read about the lack of common decency in this world. Why not think of it as, at least I wasn't hurt" but no scream about damage to a car. Yes it is a pain to have to get it fixed and rent another but come on being mean will change none of it.
Also being nice only seems to get you walked all over.
Karma is a b*itch and she seems to be getting hers.
I am glad that you suffered no damage to yourself or car. I am sorry this had to happen to you. MB

Decorina said...

Raina is right. Her kharma ran over her dogma. (Apologies to your boys David).

I might have suggested she trade the Beemer in on a broom.

Margaret said...

Picture if you will, two stay at home, "soccer moms", large SUV's, picking the kids up from private school in a crowded high school parking lot. Things were not moving, so I (without properly looking) moved out of line, only to scrape the side of "soccer mom2", SUV. All three of my children have gone to this school, I haven't met another parent that I didn't like....until that day. I quickly got out of my car to apologize and give my info to her, when she starting screaming and yelling about why I didn't think to look and how scraped up her car was. I was so caught off guard. My eyes filled with tears as she continued her ranting, in front of other parents, I might add. I can't believe what came out of my mouth next. I said, "you should be more careful next time as well. I see the accident differently. It's my opinion that you scraped my car". In the end, it was nothing more than a "she said, she said" and each of us was foreced to rely on our own insurance companies for damages. I was fully willing to admit, apologize and meet up at Starbucks the next day (LOL), but she was so hateful and mean from the starts,that I did something I never dreamed of doing. I smile every time I saw her after that.

ticklishfromadistance said...

Great letter. Love it.

Kara said...

Joyce is a sad petty little woman.

You are a good man.

Pigtown-Design said...

Pathetic woman whose car is more important to her than civility. What goes 'round, comes 'round. That's why she's been hit three times!

Jill said...

I love you! You now have a new follower...
Bravo, standing ovation, three cheers to you!

Homelover said...

We need to be reminded of our humanity daily. It's all we have, really. You were wise to take the high road.

caroline said...

sadly, people like this rarely see the err of their ways. you should relish in the fact that she is a miserable bitch, and you're happy as a clam. david-1, joyce-0. bravo.

Impressed said...

Tip of the hat to you, David! You are far more patient than I would be. Your letter is the best one I've read in a long time.

RLG said...

David! I give you the highest marks for civility. I was in a similar situation a few weeks ago. I hit a parked car -- and in my own defense, I was trying to avoid an illegally parked car and the children loading into it. I'm almost 40 and haven't had so much as a speeding ticket since I was a teenager. The woman who owned the car I hit was perfectly lovely (as was the very handsome police officer). I could not have been more embarrassed or apologetic, and she could not have been nicer. I'm so sorry that your situation didn't more closely resemble my own.

I wonder what I would have done in your situation. Would my gorgeous rock-star husband's voice be in my head, telling me to keep it cool? Would it feel so good to let it rip on someone who couldn't be more deserving? Yes, and yes.

Kristie said...

Greetings from the other side of the world :) One of your comments said they hoped this went all over the world and I think Australia counts towards that!
Kudos to you David on keeping your cool...I don't know that I would have been able to maintain civility in the face of such epic rudeness! I agree with everyone who has mentioned Karma...I'm sure this won't be the last time that Joyce is given the opportunity to do the right thing...though I suspect she will fail just as badly next time!!!!
This is just another sad example of the escalating loss of manners that seems to be spreading all around the world. It really just makes me very sad.
Though one good thing has come from this....I found your blog! Thanks Decorno!

Iheartfashion said...

Well said, David!

Anonymous said...

Got here by way of Decorno, and so glad I stopped by.

My mother backed out of a parking space last year in her Expedition (UGH) and ran all over this young guy's fairly new Toyota truck. He was so kind to her...they worked everything out right there and all was fine. I was so grateful for his kindness, that I actually contacted him and thanked him. He told me that he could tell how SINCERE my mother was, how sorry she was, and said that there's no truck in the world more important than human kindness. Too bad Joyce didn't appreciate YOU!

I am sorry that this happened, but more sorry that you had to deal with such a bitch. The damage YOU did will be fixed. I bet the various damage she has done over the years won't be.

I do believe in the karma thing...so here's to something wonderful coming your way! :)

Christine in DC said...

The type of person she deserved to hit her car was a big thug who would pop her one, apparently, so karma missed a step there for a second. But, good for you for maintaining a sense of dignity!

Anonymous said...

I got rear ended and the guy kept screaming at me because it was my fault that I didn't get out of his way. Do cars have karma? I have had more accidents with this car than all the other cars I have owned. I was even at the dealer and they were driving it out of the parking lot and my car was side smashed by a new car being delivered.

hello said...

Rock on, David.

And what Raina said.

Oh, crap. I'm not signed in. It's me, HG.

songirl said...

David, I think I love you.

Vicky said...

This letter has already arrived to Argentina! (through Decorno) Let´s hope Joyce and many more shall read it, and that all of us that did read it, embrace the whole concept of being polite and remaining calm even when the situation seems overwhelming and appalling.
Best regards to all!

kate salenfriend said...

Dear David,
I love you. You made me remember that most of us are kind people that are doing the right thing and we're really affected when another treats us spectacularly wrong.
I said a little prayer today thanking God that it was this bitches BMW you hit and not MeMe's.
Now I'll think of you when I'm out on the road in my car.. "what would David do... " I'll think to myself.
Or better yet, "do I want to be a David? or a Joyce?"
Me thinks David.
Love, Kate

red ticking said...

hi david...i think this more and more all of the time.. "it takes SO LITTLE to just be nice" and that is how i was raised as well. although none of us are perfect, why do people have to be so nasty? i think your letter was amazing... BRAVO. we need to all slow down, take some time to see what is really important in life and just be nice.

Anonymous said...

What a nasty, nasty, bitch.

Loving you, David, all the way from Canada.

franki durbin said...

wow! well articulated. kudos to you for your candor. let the bureaucrats have their fun now. (Glad to hear your ride is okay ;)

megan said...

I did a similar thing about a month ago. I was parking my husband's van like it was my sunfire and "rubbed" a really nice new pickup. No one was around and I kind of freaked out, I checked for damage on the other car and seeing none drove away. Well someone followed me and when I got out of my car accused me of a hit and run. I went back and left my phone number on the truck and hoped for the best. Later when I was driving by I noticed a second note on the truck. The guy who followed me (and scared the crap out of me) left his own note with my license plate number and some nasty words about my character.

So I took his note and waited for my call. Later that night a lady called me and said she what the person whose car I damaged. Well what I did was damage MY car, her's was fine. Anyway long story a little less long, she thought that I must be a Christian woman (not so much) because I left the note and that she will just have to forgive me. Not sure what I'm getting at here but I have felt like crap ever since and your story made me feel a little less like a looser, thanks. Oh yeah, I hate that lady in the BMW!

J-Mo said...

Sir, that was a very nice rant. I applaud you, and hope that writing that letter (and posting it on your blog) gave you some satisfaction. Sounds to me like you behaved politely and went far beyond what you are obliged to do in the circumstances.
Sounds to me (no.2) like the thing you should tell yourself is that Joyce has to be Joyce every day for the rest of her life. And you don't.

Here's a quote you may like:
Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind. Henri Frederic Amiel

Karena said...

David, I think it is dreadful for someone to treat you that way. I rear ended a mans car recently, he was making a left turn in front of me, said his blinker was on, however I did not see them on. Long story short, I could not stop in time. My Jeep was damaged more than his Lexus SUV plus, I got the ticket when the police arrived. This man certainly could have yelled and been very upset with me, however, he actually offed to give me a ride to work!! Needless to say I have paid it forward since. It takes so little to be decent to people.

Musette said...

A great letter and many thanks to Decorno for linking to it!


Well done, David. Civility is pretty much all we have - thank you for preserving it.

xo

Reggie said...

I would imagine that Ms. Omer has been alerted to your blog by now...will be interesting to see if she responds, given the heat generated!

lucitebox said...

Referred by Decorno, adding you to my bookmarks!

Thank you, David, for inhabiting the planet while I do! I wish more people like you lived here. (You and your man should have kids if you're so inclined.)

I am so often mortified by the atrocious behavior I witness that I sometimes want to buy a rocket ship. I would totally let you drive if you want to.

Holly

bluehydrangea said...

David,

Are you still reading? I just found your blog and had to say Bravo!! If I am ever in an accident I hope it is with someone as nice as you! Your mom would be proud!

susie q said...

I've loved your comments on Decorno and now have had the pleasure of finding your blog. You're bookmarked and I'll be seeing you often. Love your letter. I salute your fine character and fabulous way with words!

THE PICKLED HUTCH said...

I guess I would just be curious. Not about how many accidents she has been in with the BMW but throughout her life. If practice makes perfect, then she really has nasty down to a tee! And don't you just love oiur blogs give us this voice? Well done on your part David
Lisa & Alfie

Anonymous said...

David, you are a virtuous person. After determining that there is no injury, an auto accident is a business transaction. Many years ago I too had a small bump in a parking lot. My fault and I said so. The woman was hysterical and called the police. The police officer listened to her, and listened to her, and listened to her. He told her to come over with him and then said "Shut up." He took my card out of her hand and came back to me. He handed my card to me and said "Never give your address to a crazy person." All that is required is insurance information as in policy number. Thank you for the reminder of how we are supposed to conduct ourselves and that there are a lot of boors out there.

soodie :: said...

David, you're sweet. And this is truly a tender post.

Noah "CEOah" said...

i wish i could write as gracefully as you, i cant- so here goes: That female human just plain SUCKS!!!

The Chick said...

Popping over from Decorno... I think I love you, David. Yup, I'm sure.

Angela said...

Saw this linked from Decorno....I must be a true New Yorker, because my first instinct is to give a rude person like that a piece of my mind! I can only IMAGINE what my response would have been had I been faced with the same discourteous behavior Joyce exhibited. You, David, have reminded me to be a little more patient and kind with those I encounter, in the hopes that it will be passed on to someone else. Who knows, maybe Joyce is a perfectly nice individual had just come off of being on the receiving end of somebody else's bitchiness, and had run out of patience as a result!
Or maybe not... :)

GDad said...

David,

I'm glad you made it out OK. Rudeness of that magnitude is unacceptable. I hope the number of comments here cause a bump in the Google rank of this woman's name.

ks said...

every time i see a bmw from now on,
rather than thinking, "ew"--
i'll smile and sigh and think, "david"...

Rachel H. said...

Ewww what a bitch! Being from KCMO, and knowing how TERRIBLE some of the drivers are here- the fact that you bumped her while parallel parking is nothing! Shit, my car has been hit about 8 times in parking spots with no notes even left, so she is lucky you were as sweet as you were.

Karma is a bitch...

katiedid said...

You can thank Decorno for another fan! We can only hope that Joyce was having a bad day. You on the other hand were having a good day(well....maybe not "good" in the sense that it was happy, but in the sense that YOU were good).....you made it that way with your stellar behavior!

day at a glance said...

Just found your blog through Decorno. May I just say that you are fabulous. I look forward to more posts.

Heather said...

David,

I don't know you, and have never met you, but I know Joyce Omer personally, and you have captured her perfectly! There is someone I would love for you to get in touch with. Please email me at heather.heatherbee@gmail.com if you get this.

dkjm said...

I know Joyce too I used to clean her home in Mission Hills. One of the girls scratched her marble table top in the dining room and she tried to refuse repairs to it. Her son marked up their walls taking their scuba gear down the stairs when they went on vacation and she tried to blame us for the marks.Our company refused to clean her after I quit.

David said...

dkjm,

Just saw your comment from July 7th. I'm assuming you found this post from some sort of search, it makes me infinitely happy that if someone were to search Joyce Omer they're going to find this among the results.

Dreadful, dreadful woman. I can't think about it too much because even after all this time it makes my blood boil.

jhon said...

nice post love it

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