From My Perspective – Hit and Run

One of my favourite television dramas is Nip/Tuck, an incredible show I was fortunate enough to discover right from the first episode. I’m eagerly awaiting season three right now, but recently my daughter had an unusual incident that was straight out of a Nip/Tuck episode. In the opening scene of that particular episode, Dr. Troy’s girlfriend is left waiting in his very expensive sports car while he goes in to select a rental movie. The vehicle has a very expensive sound system, and she turns up the music to full volume, singing along to The Captain and Tennille. The problem is, the girlfriend happens to be blind, and the loud music attracts the notice of a couple of punks, who, realizing she cannot see, quickly and professionally jack up the car and steal all four very expensive wheels and rims. When Dr. Troy emerges from the video store, he is stunned to see his vehicle stripped of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and berates her, asking how it was possible that she was unaware of what was happening. Her defense is that she had the music up so loud that she thought the movement of the car was just the loud bass!

My daughter and her friends had gone to the movies the other night — the dollar movie, since by the end of the week none of them have much ready cash left. When they exited the movie theatre to go home, to their consternation and amazement, they discovered that someone had jacked up her car and stolen one of her tires! The car was still left up on the jack, and the bolts had been fastened back on – all that was missing was the tire itself. Fortunately she had a spare, and in the crowd of people exiting the theatre there were plenty of willing hands to help out.

Dr. Troy’s car doesn’t have all that much in common with my daughter’s, of course. Her car is an inexpensive beater, although it does sport a high quality stereo system. The Nip/Tuck episode, however, allowed us to see the humorous side of something that was not really that funny. It seemed clear that whoever had done it must have found themselves with a flat tire and no spare, and finding a vehicle with the right size tire, helped themselves to a replacement. Perhaps they even thought leaving the jack & the bolts somehow made up for what they did.

It might not seem that the loss of a tire is a big thing, but for a young person who doesn’t make a lot of money, it represents an unfair burden. She will likely have to purchase two tires, plus the loss of time involved in getting things repaired and having her vehicle temporarily out of commission. What makes it more frustrating is that this is the second incident in a short period of time.

My daughter has had a disproportionate share of vehicle trouble this year. Her old beater truck had finally broken down and become undriveable only weeks before. It was left parked in front of our house (no room in the back), while she searched for a cheap replacement vehicle.

One afternoon I was at the rear of the house when I heard a loud bang from outside, followed by the sound of a vehicle engine revving. I though it odd, and wondered whether someone had hit my vehicle parked in front. I was going to run to the window to investigate but something distracted me and I didn’t give it another thought. Later that day I went to pick up my daughter from work, and as we returned home, she suddenly gasped — there was extensive damage to the rear end of her truck!

It seemed clear that someone had been driving too quickly down the street, bounced out of the icy ruts, and hit the rear of her truck (the city of Edmonton does not clear side streets of snow and they become a snowy, icy mess this time of year). The impact had forced the vehicle forward several feet into the curb, and most of the tail-light assembly was destroyed. We picked up the pieces and determined that a couple of pieces were not from the truck, therefore must belong to the offending vehicle. The plastic seemed new, and from the angle, height, and strength of the impact, we guessed that it was probably a newer truck or SUV. We tried to play detective, circling the neighbourhood in search of a vehicle with significant front end damage, hoping we’d be able to fit the two pieces into the gap and catch the culprit, but to no avail. I was kicking myself for not having acted on my instincts and checking out the noise I had heard earlier. Whoever did the deed was long gone, or had a garage they could conceal the vehicle in until repairs could be done.

It’s discouraging and frustrating, to say the least. We work hard for things, and when someone randomly damages or steals from you, the feeling of personal violation is distressing. It isn’t just the cost involved, although that is certainly problematic, and insurance does not cover such incidents (and they punish you for making a claim if you do). It’s more that these kinds of incidents damage my opinion of my fellow man. I like to believe that people are inherently good, that they don’t deliberately try to hurt others. Yet far too many people seem willing to commit these random acts of petty destruction or thievery.

In the end, however, we were able to laugh about what had happened with the missing tire, as it really is something like a scene out of a movie. At the very least, it provides an interesting anecdote!