I did a really nice and really dumb thing yesterday. My goal for 2017 is to be kind and more Christ-like. So when a client, who I know to be practically homeless and car-less, came to the office with a sad story about needing a ride to replace a car battery, I loaned him my car.
Now, this guy isn’t a stranger. He’s a client and for the past few months while we handle his PI case, I’ve been helping him in his time of crisis. I gave him food, small amount of money and I even gave him our son’s old junker car when he said he could fix it up and get it running.
My car is your basic mom-sedan. A Chevy: 4 doors, sunroof, OnStar. No real thrills. And I have plenty of insurance, so I wasn’t worried about accidents. It’s just parked there uselessly between nine and five, after all. And he only needed it to make a short run to Walmart to exchange a car battery so his own car could get up and running.
I figured to help him out and so gave him my car key. Wisely, I kept my house and work keys on my key ring.
An hour passes. Then another. Then it’s 5:30 p.m. and my car is nowhere in sight.
I began to panic. Not so much about the car, but what I would tell my husband. He was about to be righteously pissed off. Reluctantly, I called my husband and told him what I’d done. I loaned my car to someone and they took off with it. He was predictably furious, but kept his cool saying only one, “I told you so.” I made a police report to two very kind officers and they helped me notify OnStar. OnStar, God bless them, located the car in minutes and in less than an hour, the highway patrol had it pulled over.
I wish I could say the car was recovered with no harm done after a hilarious series of misunderstandings, but it wasn’t. That little fucker stole my car and was halfway to Oklahoma before the Missouri State Highway Patrol and OnStar located it and disabled the ignition. Oh, and he was driving drunk. I’m lucky he didn’t mow down a row of nuns on his way out of town with my car and the last of my good will.
“How stupid!” you say. “Who loans their car to a practical stranger?!” Well, he wasn’t a practical stranger. I talked to him nearly every day and was doing my level best to get him a settlement for a motor vehicle accident. I felt as if I knew this person. Clearly, I did not.
I’ve always been a soft touch. I believe in people and I believe in doing good deeds and giving to people less fortunate. Now, that good will has been thrown in my face and rewarded with an extraordinary tow and storage bill.
I don’t think I have words for how stupid I feel. I trusted someone and took them at their word and got burned badly. I don’t want to be the kind of person who hardens their heart and never helps anyone ever again. I don’t want to be jaded and cold toward people in need. And I probably won’t be, it’s just difficult to process this kick in the teeth.
So now, the thief is in jail. My car is parked in a tow lot 100 miles away. I am thankful it wasn’t damaged, but I really don’t care about the car. It’s just a car. It’s a thing and easily replaced. What is really damaged is my faith in people. And my faith in myself. I trusted God to take care of me and now this happens? Why did this happen to me when I was just trying to help someone out? The urge to slam the door of my heart to the world last night was very, very strong.
Despite this crisis, my faith remains strong. I will remain faithful to God and not curse the car thief or rage at my own stupidity. My intentions were pure, although my discernment was lacking. My faith tells me this is God’s way of removing this toxic person from my life. God is in control and like I said; I’m only out a car for a few days. I’m inconvenienced. Darren the car thief is going to be in jail for a while, but at least he’ll have 3 hots and a cot which is more than he was getting on his own.
So there’s my story for the first week of 2017. My first good deed of the year is immediately punished. It can only get better from here.