playing detective

car damage

It was a special night. Celebration time out with the love of my life and good friends. New and delicious foods. An especially friendly and capable waiter attending to our needs and making us laugh. Our stomachs were full after just the appetizer, but we proceeded to stay through coffee and dessert, enjoying the flavors and the company. A treasure of an evening.

… and then everything changed.

Out in the parking lot, we began to say good-bye to our friend, but as we walked over to our car, we saw it… Someone had sideswiped our car while we were in the restaurant! Ugly scratches clearly displayed the damage all along the side panels. Ugh! It was a “hit-and-run” as there was no apologetic note with contact information on the windshield and no-one nearby ready to claim responsibility.

We began to piece together the evidence… red in the scratches gave a clue. Placement of the damage indicated a small SUV rather than a sedan. As we pondered next steps, another couple exited the restaurant, and added that they witnessed the collision, but paid little attention, other than to mention that the car they saw was a… maroon-red SUV.

I’m not sure why, but our eyes began to scan the parking lot for red SUVs… and one caught our eye right across the lot. A quick investigative walk across the lot confirmed our suspicions – grey paint in scratches on the hood at the exact height location! We quickly archived pictures of the license plate and scratches in our phones.

In this day and age, a direct confrontation is not wise, so we called the police for backup. An officer arrived and – although they don’t usually get involved in minor parking lot incidences – quickly joined the case because of the clear evidence and the still-present guilty vehicle.

What kind of person hits a car, discretely drives to the other side of the same lot to park, and then enters the restaurant to eat dinner like nothing happened?

We waited watching the customers as they exited and walked to their cars. Is that the one? Do they look guilty? Nope, never mind, they are walking the other way…

One group of people initially strolled towards the direction of the SUV, but then turned. We lost interest. All of a sudden, the policewoman bolted towards the SUV! Someone had sneaked back to the SUV while we weren’t looking, and, in her peripheral vision, the officer had just seen the car door open. She caught them as they were trying to get away!

The others in the group drove away and left a young woman alone to attempt an unobserved escape. So sad! She nervously tried to blame someone else for the accident and moving the car, but turned over registration and insurance information anyway. Another witness said that drinking by the others may have been an issue.

We took a moment to pray for the officer and the others involved. Case closed.

I am still surprised that all the details came together, and at least we will not have to pay for the repairs, but I can’t stop wondering about the people who would do these things… hiding, blaming, abandoning.

What causes someone to act like that?

And, then… how often do I do the same thing… try to hide my guilt or pass the blame or leave someone else to defend my mistakes?

How about you? Ever had to play detective? Ever been the guilty party?


9 thoughts on “playing detective

  1. Esta escena me recordó la película de “Dios no esta muerto” donde el que atropelló al profesor, sale huyendo! Qué pena que las personas reaccionen de esa manera, pobres, son dignos de lástima porque podemos ver lo asustados que están y huir no es la solución a sus problemas, ellos van por la vida gritando “deténganme” “se tú mi ayuda”. Precisamente el viernes pasado íbamos mi esposo y yo por la carretera y de repente una camioneta pick up nos rebasa por la derecha y se mete entre dos trailers, estuvo a punto de ocasionar un tremendo accidente, yo decidí ayudarlo. Es bien conocido que cuando una persona se encuentra ante una cámara, inmediatamente se transforma. Pues yo saque mi IPad y comencé a filmar, inmediatamente disminuyó la velocidad y se ubicó en el carril que le correspondía y siguió todo su camino con prudencia, ese día una cámara salvó la vida de el y de todos los que íbamos a su alrededor.


    • Excelente idea, Magda! Voy a recordarlo de la cámara… tiene todo sentido! Bien hecho, amiga… y más porque cambió su deportamiento… me encanta tu manera creativa de hacer una diferencia para el bien. Gracias por compartirlo!


  2. It’s a broken, miserable world we live in when there is no sense of right behavior when someone else does damage to something of ours. Our to us. With no conscience and no need to fess up. And yet, you’re right. I find I, too, try to avoid getting caught. God is a much better detective than I am at being the fugitive criminal. Thanks for the insight, my friend–and for sharing so vulnerably a lesson we all need to hear. I love that you prayed for the officer and the others involved!


    • Yes… it was a sad situation… a young child of about 8 yrs old was present for all too… can’t imagine what stories they were telling her or what she was learning from watching… Now, the “clients” are avoiding their insurance agent too, so we’ll see what happens with the repairs. I am thankful it was nothing more serious… and this inconvenience is a good reminder of how my actions affect others too! Thanks for reading!


  3. Wow Terry, siento mucho las emociones que tuvieron que vivir en esos momentos y los daños del carro. Fue toda una aventura. Pero me doy cuenta que probablemente una de las razones por las que Dios permitió que eso ocurriera fue para que muchas personas pudiéramos reflexionar por medio de tu experiencia compartida en la integridad y la asertividad. Todos estamos expuestos a errores al manejar, yo en lo personal paso muchas horas a la semana manejando, y he podido comprobar que en momentos, en las reacciones y decisiones que tomamos a veces en segundos mientras manejamos, reflejamos lo que somos y nuestros principios. “Dime cómo manejas y te diré quien eres”. He cometido errores al manejar y hay algunas de mis reacciones y decisiones por las que si me avergonzaría, pero el estar consciente de ello, de que involucra y proyecta lo que soy, me motiva a tener mas cuidado. Todos podemos también estar en la parte “inocente”, como ustedes, y padecer las malas acciones de otros. Felicidades porque ustedes actuaron de manera pronta, audaz e inteligente para resolver el “misterio”. Siento mucho lo que pasó, y disculpa pero estuvo tan interesante leer tu blog que lo disfruté mi querida Watson 🙂


  4. So sorry, Terry! How quickly we do try to cover for ourselves or seek to blame others! I’m always reminded of the sign my father put on a remote pump he had for their water source which read, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” He never had to deal with theft or destruction after that!


    • That’s a good one… maybe I should get a sign like that for the side of my car! ha! …or my mirror! Well, the first scratch on a new car is never fun, but it is a very minor inconvenience compared to much in life! Looking forward to chatting with you soon!


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