Last Sunday I happened to see a car accident right alongside my car.
I was parking outside church, when a driver misjudged how much space he had to pass another car, badly scraping and denting it. Fortunately he was going slowly and no one was injured.
I was just a few feet away with my car windows open, and thought to myself, “Oh no, here we go with the yelling and cursing and freaking out now.” But that’s not what happened in this case. I witnessed a great encounter take place.
The driver whose fault it was got out walked right over to the other driver with his hand out, saying, “I’m so sorry! Are you alright?” The two shook hands in the middle, as the dented car driver said, “I’m fine. Accidents happen. It’s just a car!”
The two men made sure their cars weren’t blocking traffic, and then walked to the sidewalk to exchange phone numbers and insurance info.
A few years ago when I was the cause of a fender bender in a parking lot, my immediate apology was ignored and met with a furious, “How could you be such an idiot?” No one was hurt, and of course I hadn’t bumped into him on purpose. But the man was screaming, waving his arms, and cursing to the point that I got back in my car and locked it and waited for the police.
We’re often told that because of insurance issues, we should never admit our fault in a car accident. I disagree with the morality of this advice. I should refuse to apologize even when it’s obviously my fault? What about integrity? The golden rule is always the best advice.
As I was getting out of my car to head into Mass after the incident last week, two women were walking past the men talking the sidewalk. “Every car accident should go as smoothly as that! What gentlemen!”