“SCREEEECH” I (Unfortunately) recognized the sound as soon as I heard it. It was the sound of bumper scraping bumper. Even worse? I was turning into a parking spot at one of my places of respite the bookstore. I was also on a mission…. the mission did not include my making a poor choice of parking spot and subsequently causing damage to both my husbands Jeep and the car I scraped.
My heart thumped with fear. My eyes filled with tears. Another screw up. For a brief moment, I hated myself and my humanity. I HATE screwing up.
Next came fear. Honestly? For a brief moment I considered leaving a note and leaving. I figured a non personal phone call with an angry person would be easier than a face to face. Let’s face it… between cancer and laundry and life and work I’m kind of stressed and might not be able to hold it together if some maniac freaks out at me in a parking lot.
Integrity means being the same throughout. Doing the right thing even when it costs and hurts. Integrity is one of my core values.
Leaving wasn’t an option.
It was my fault. I had to step up, take the risk and take responsibility.
I went into the store praying that I wouldn’t throw up and that maybe I wouldn’t be able to find the other driver. I also left a note on the windshield with an apology and my cell # in case the owner of the other vehicle wasn’t in the bookstore.
I sheepishly and like a third grade caught being bad in class- asked for the manager. “I accidentally (as if anyone purposefully) bumped a car in the lot, can you please call over the system to help me try to locate the owner of the vehicle?”
Again I kind of prayed the other driver wouldn’t be there. I was scared.
I could tell by the panicked look on the face of a beautiful Sari-wrapped patron that she was the vehicle’s owner.
“I’m so sorry, I bumped you car while parking.”
“Oh my. Let’s go see.”
We went out to the cars and evaluated the damage. She asked if I wanted to take care of it directly or go through the insurance company. Clueless as to how much this could cost.. I suggested we call out the police and do the right thing….. UGH.
“No fault or not…My insurance is gonna go up. I screwed up. I suck.” While waiting for the police I payed and called my favorite person. Hoping he wouldn’t be mad.
“Babe, its just stuff. It’s just a car. It’s ok. Offer her $500 and see if that suffices.”
“But honey- It’s not even a REAL scratch on her car.. I can wipe the paint from OUR bumper off with my hand… The tiny dent doesn’t affect the drivability of the car! I even think that because there’s rust- that part might have already been there! It’s NOT $500 worth of damages! That’s not fair! AND SHE PARKED ON THE LINE. We don’t have money to waste!!”
“It’s the right thing. You accidentally damaged her car. Offer her compensation and trust God to take care of us.”
“UGH. I know. I hate this.” (And I kind of love and hate it when he’s right.)
The driver was upset but not nasty. (Thank you, Jesus.) I offered her $250. (ummm no point starting at the upper limit. Negotiate. Especially since it wasn’t THAT much damage. And not likely she’s actually going to fix it…)
“Last time I backed into a tree it cost $400 to repair.”
Obviously, that was her tipping point.$400. I have a hundred other places I’d rather spend $400. Places that could make a difference….. UGH.
It didn’t feel fair. It may not have been.
But it’s her car. And doing what it took to bring peace into a painful situation I caused, was worth it. Kind of. We drove to my bank and I counted out the amount she needed to feel reconciliation. I hugged her.
Then, I headed back to the book store. (STILL ON A MISSION.)
The girl who’s been ringing me up for years- could tell something was wrong. We’ve developed a relationship. She knows me. “Are you ok? Do you need a hug?” And: I told her what happened with out falling apart. She looked at the pictures and said: That’s so not right. You could have just left! That’s what usually happens here.” “But you wouldn’t do that, I know.”
“Wait just a minute. Don’t move.”
Not sure if I was about to be banned form my favorite bookstore.. I didn’t move. I’d already had to tell a police officer I park like an idiot…..and was sightly afraid i’d be wearing that fabulous orange jumpsuit by the end of the day.
She went to the back room and brought out a cupcake.One she’d baked for her friends on staff. “You need this. That sucked and isn’t fair. And you need a hug too. ”
She was right. I did.
More than that- she gave me the most valuable cupcake ever…. One that said: “I know you have integrity. I know you did what you thought was right even though it cost you. And I know others may not have.I know you went above and beyond. It matters. I see.”
And that: is worth a $400 cupcake.
Integrity is hard.
Doing the wrong thing seems easy. It’s tempting. I know I’ve done it.
But, Today? On a no good,very bad day? I was reminded of this: My integrity is worth more than money. And a Cupcake can have infinitely more value than it’s calories or yumminess or a bumper.
Thank You god for showing up- even here- when I screw up. Thank you for a love and grace filled cupcake. Thank you lord that integrity still matters. Help me remember that the next time I screw up. In jesus name- amen.
PS- cupcake? Irish carbomb. Check Pinterest….for a recipe… AMAZING. Sorry- no pics of the cuppy. I ate that thing with flourish and abandon last night;) Fully enjoying every bite.
Proverbs 10:9New International Version (NIV)
9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
Please note: That verse doesn’t say the walk is in a park or full of rainbows… but it matters- to others and God.
- Have you had your integrity challenged? By a person or circumstance?
- Have you paid a price to walk in integrity? Can you share about it?
- Or am I the only one that integrity can be hard for????? Lets talk!
- Have you ever had a parking lot fender bender? What happened????