I got in a minor accident the other day. Not even worthy of calling it a “fender-bender.” I was pulling out of an alley here in Chicago, which if you live in Chicago you’ll know is usually a pretty tight space. Anyway, I somehow cut the corner too close and ended up taking out the right rear light of a parked car as I exited. Yes—I hit a parked car.
The car was smaller than mine, so when I hit it with my bumper, it hit higher on the other car, right in the center of the light. The light cover shattered, and I think I may have even busted the light bulb itself. Definitely not just a minor bumper scratch. I pulled to the side of the road, took a picture with my phone of both cars (always do this for insurance reasons!), and scribbled out a note.
In the note I apologized profusely and left my name, contact information, and insurance info. I heard from the owner a day later, and, while I wouldn’t say he was exactly “happy” with me, he did express thanks that I had owned up to my mistake and left the note. Now, we can let the insurance companies figure out the rest.
Unfortunately though, in Chicago, as in any major city, things like this happen all the time, and people rarely leave notes. After all, if no one is there to see you commit the accident, and you just leave, how will anyone ever find out? It will save you money and time/frustration, right?
I think this is where money and ethics collide. Yes—saving money is good, and spending unnecessarily or unexpectedly is bad. However, we also must take responsibility for our actions, even if doing so means we’ll be out some cash. In this case, it pays to do the right thing, even though it will cost you some unanticipated funds.
Think of the good karma you’re building though!