Yep, that happened. My daughter was in full panic mode, my husband was not excited after watching it all happen, and we still had to face the neighbor. Did I mention that we have lived in our home for 2 and 1/2 years and had not 'met' this neighbor? No, well other than peering through windows and waving periodically we were complete strangers. Now back to my story. The neighbor runs out of the house and quickly hugs me explaining that this is her mother's car and apologizes explaining I should be ready for some Southern Righteous Anger. We rightly earned that anger, but I didn't want my daughter completely traumatized and therapist's shouldn't punch people who yell at their children. I breathed deeply and prepared myself as the mother comes running outside.
<Pause> This is the moment that choices were made that changed every person's experience that day and the days to come. <Play>
The neighbor's mother looks at her car, our car, and seeing my daughter in tears apologizing over and over she hugs her like family. She tells my daughter that it is okay, things can be replaced, and that nobody was hurt. My neighbor looks on this interaction in shock because her mother was much calmer than she expected and had experienced before in her life. She looked at me in wonder and amazement as her mother told my daughter that once this was fixed she needed to back out again so that she didn't let it beat her. My daughter agreed and then fled to her room. Insurance information was exchanged, police were contacted, and claims were filed and immediately started.
The lesson I want to point out in this is simple. We make choices everyday. Whether it is as an employee, parent, partner, child, or advocate we choose. We choose all the time. Sometimes our actions reflect our words, other times our actions and words differ. Sometimes we make the right call at the right time and others we mess up royally! The entire accident event started with a good choice: to be kinds and understanding of a tough situation. Also, I didn't hit anyone (this really wasn't a fear that this would happen as I have only hit my brother in my life and we were kids), nobody yelled at anyone, and we all retained our dignity. Throughout the entire process from insurance to repair shop everyone performed stellarly! I have the opportunity to see people make choices all the time and often I am able to watch those choices play out, but I have never been more aware of how choices affect our present events and future outcomes as I was by this incident.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Have you just known you were in for a wild ride and then another person's choice of action made it turn out better? Have you ever made the wrong decision and wished you could rewind time and choose another way? Feel free to send me your comments. You can even share your first car accident story for my daughter's growing collection from friends and family. Also feel free to comment how you first met your neighbor!