On a recent Friday as my wife and I approached our car parked on Vernon Street we noticed what looked like a parking ticket under the wiper blade. When we got closer we realized, to our relief, it was just a note. Here’s what it said:
Hi! I am so sorry, but my son hit the front of your car with our door when he was getting in the car. We would like to make it right, so please call us!
Tracy (and a phone number)
Yes, there was a new scuff mark on the car fender, but it wasn’t anything particularly remarkable and if we hadn’t been told to look for it we likely wouldn’t have noticed it until the next time we hand washed the car. So we were very impressed that Tracy had gone out of her way to leave a note telling us what had happened and offering to “make it right.”
Driving home I imagined Tracy standing beside our car with her son looking at the scuff mark and thinking to herself, “What do I do now?” Most people these days would probably have shrugged their shoulders and decided it really wasn’t worth bothering about. But Tracy was made of different stuff. How fortunate for her son that she was. Because whatever she had done at that moment, either way, her son was going to learn a hugely important lesson.
If she’d just walked away, her son would have learned, that if they can get away with it, adults don’t necessarily take responsibility for things they do. A whole lifetime of consequences for everyone her son encounters could have flowed from that lesson. But instead, by acknowledging what happened and leaving her note, Tracy taught him that it is important to take responsibility for your actions, to have the courage to own up to what has happened and to have the integrity to try to “make it right” — even when you could easily get away without doing any of it.
I called Tracy when we got home and thanked her for leaving a note. I said I was hopeful the scuff mark could be polished out with relatively little cost and would let her know once I had an estimate from the body shop.
Today I stopped off at Cottonwood Auto Body to see what needed to be done. As the estimator examined the damage I told him how impressed I was to find a note on my windshield explaining what had happened. As it turned out the damage could be easily polished off and they could do the work right away if I could wait. Fifteen minutes later I drove away with a newly washed car and no scuff mark on the fender. The cost? “On the house.”
This whole experience has really restored my faith in the inherent goodness of people in our community.
If there were Oscars given out to mothers for exceptional performances in raising their children, I’d certainly be nominating Tracy. Likewise, I was thrilled that the folks at Cottonwood Auto Body were as impressed as I was by what she’d done and added their support by doing the work “No charge.”
Thanks for making my day and a huge “Bravo” to you both.