Friday, March 21, 2014

That Time Someone Ran Over My Scooter

Didn't I ever tell you about that time someone ran over my scooter with an SUV? No? Well, it happened about a year ago, in a parking lot. I was doing some errands and scooted on over to Target to pick up the basics: deodorant, some makeup for my wife (don't judge), and a package of toilet paper that I'd have to tie down with bungee cords. I'm always nervous about our scooter getting hit in parking lots, since it kind of hides in a parking space. When going down an aisle, it initially seems like the parking space that our scooter is in is empty, so I can see how a driver might pull halfway into the spot before realizing there's a scooter in there. So I parked in a spot far away from the entrance, and without  a car on either side.

About twenty minutes later, I came out of the store to find my poor scooter on its side, with its little plastic fenders scraped all over. I flipped it back upright and, while she was dinged up pretty good, it seemed mostly like superficial body work. But when I tried to start it, it wouldn't turn over, either with the key or the kick start. A guy standing at the nearby bus stop yelled over, "He left a note!"

"The guy who hit it left a note?"

"No! The dude who ran after her did!"

And there it was, taped to the scooter's front panel. A note describing how some unidentified maroon SUV had backed into, and then over, my scooter...and then peeled out trying to leave. He was able to write down the license number though, and even left his phone number. So I gave him a call, and it turns out he was in Target with his two daughters. He had some shopping to get done but would be right out to chat with me.

I called the police to get a report going, and the cop showed up the same time as my good Samaritan came out of the store. It turns out that the guy was pulling into the lot with his two daughters, one who was only four and the other who was still an infant, when he saw the the SUV hit our scooter. As she tried to drive away, he told his daughters, "Stay here!" as he threw the car in park, and ran after her on foot. He ran clear across the parking lot and caught up to her, as she was stuck at a stoplight, and was able to read the license plate before the light turned, repeating it over and over while he ran back to his daughters still sitting in the car. The best bit is that he's telling this to the cop and me while holding a bunch of Target bags, his one daughter standing quietly, holding his hand, and the other cooing away in the stroller. Dude is father of the year.

The rest of the story is pretty dull. I spent the next several weeks waiting for the police to do their thing, and track down the owner. It turns out the driver was the owner's teenage son's girlfriend. I guess she borrowed the family car to drive to work occasionally. She worked in a nearby store and got spooked after she heard something crunch under the SUV. (Though she denied to the police even remembering hitting anything. Maybe the vehicle has really good sound dampening.) It took a few weeks for their insurance company to sort through the details, and we even went through one more bout of the family and the girlfriend denying that they hit the scooter to the insurance company. Only when I said I'd be happy to get the police involved once again did they finally admit fault.

But the part that I really love about the story is the guy who dropped everything to intervene in something that really wasn't his concern. I mean, who does that? If I saw something like that happening, I'd probably just mutter, "That sucks," then go shopping, and that would be that. As lucky as I got, I figure I owe the world three vehicular favors. I've been looking for chances to help out, but now that I work from home I'm not out on the road every day. It seems cars don't break down that often, either. So, here is your chance to cash in. If you happen to be in the Phoenix metro area and are in need of a hand with your car (maybe you're stuck on the side of the road, or want help turning a wrench or, heck, maybe you just need a ride to work) then I'm your guy. Send me an email or a comment here, and I'll come running.


*The photo (which unfortunately is not a shot of me riding a classic scooter in shorts and flip flops) is from Gavin Firksir at Flickr Creative Commons.

39 comments:

  1. Aww, this is a great story and it's so nice of you to offer your help too! It's great to know there are still people out there willing to help out total strangers. I mean, he ran after the SUV having left his two young daughters in the car alone... I am not sure I would have done the same. I'm glad everything got sorted out in the end and you now have a great story to tell!

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    1. Ha! Thanks, Eva. Yeah, the part where he left his kids in the car was a little dicey, but I'm really glad he did that. He did lock them in, for what it's worth...still, I think it's probably a cause for a little concern.

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  2. Sure, there are some stupid people around that hit and run, but I've always found there are quite a few good people in the world, too. Glad you had some of the latter on that day. =)

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    1. I lucked out for sure, Mrs. Pop. I don't know how many people would have done the same.

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  3. DB40,

    Wow, that's an awesome tale there. Every once in a while humans have a way of surprising you for the better.

    I really miss my little scooter. What a fun and economical way to get around. However, this story reminds me of how vulnerable they are, and how vulnerable I was while on one. These days my Corolla is still economical while providing a little more safety as well.

    Best wishes!

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    1. I have another post in the works about the CBA of a scooter, and whether it's worth the risk to our lives. Early numbers say no, pretty definitively, too. But I love the scooter...it's just a more fun way of traveling. Hard to put a figure on that.

      But we have a really similar car as you (the Toyota Matrix, which is built on the Corolla frame and engine). Great minds, right?

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  4. I'm with Eva - I'm not sure I would have left the kiddo alone in a car to go chasing after another vehicle that didn't really affect me. But I'm glad you met the good side of humanity in this instance!

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    1. Ha! Yeah, not having kids myself I don't think I fully understand how hard it would be to leave my children in the car like that. But I'm selfishly happy that he did.

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  5. Great story of the good Samaritan. I haven't been to Phoenix in a long time. I'll drop you a line if I ever get back there.

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    1. Please do, Bryce. If you fly in and want a ride to the airport, I'm your guy.

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  6. Great story! Indeed, it's nice to see that there are still people who are willing to help and this should be a lesson for us all that it's our duty to help others. Indeed dad of the year. And I'm glad you managed to sort things out eventually!

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    1. It was a pretty stressful experience, C. But it would have been much, much worse had this guy not intervened.

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  7. DB40, thanks for the early morning giggle, courtesy of your awesome writing. :-) That dude seriously does deserve father of the year - sounds like something out of a movie! You know, a similar thing happened to me: I was turning left at a light, and this gal (hidden by a bridge so I couldn't see her coming) totally buzzed right through a red coming from my left. Only by the grace of God did I not take out her kids b/c we t-boned her. Thankfully, a good Samaritan who'd been at the light in the lane next to her saw the whole thing, stopped and gladly talked to police and shared that it was her fault. Yet, lo and behold, she still denied everything for the first few weeks!! What are people thinking? The guy was funny, though. I thanked him profusely for stopping, and he said "Yeah, I know how I would've yelled at my wife if she didn't have proof it wasn't her fault, and I didn't want to leave you to the same fate with your husband. :-)

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    1. Aw, thanks so much for the kind words, Laurie!

      I'm so glad that you had a witness, too, because those sort of accidents can be spun either way. Imagine if she said she had the green and you were making a left through a red...hard to decipher who's telling the truth without a third party.

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  8. Love the dose of karmic good sense!

    About a year ago I saw an aggressive driver cause a car accident and I pulled over to witness. The poor sucker who got hit was obviously not from the states, so of course the jerk who caused the accident convinced him not to call the cops and that it was actually his fault.

    Thinking on my feet for once in my life, I offered to witness for the insurance, agreeing wholeheartedly with the bully who gladly gave my number to his insurance company.

    Let's just say that the insurance company got a different, more accurate, version of the story. The opportunities to manifest a little sweet justice in the world to the benefit of stranger having a really bad day are too rare to pass up.

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    1. Way to go, Emily! I love that you played double agent to help out someone in need. And what a scumbag to try to take advantage of someone who's not familiar with our system. Yuck.

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  9. Aww, what a cool thing for you to do and pay it forward! That is really cool of the guy to chase after that SUV, too - I sadly think I would have done the same with you (or assumed someone else would take care of it), but now if I see something horrendous like that again, I will do my best to be a good citizen and try to catch the culprit!

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    1. Let me know if you get to intervene someday, Anna. Maybe we can get an organization of folks together, with a name and maybe stickers or something. Traffic Justice League, unite!

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  10. That was so nice of the Good Samaritan. It's nice to hear that are still good people in this world. This story made me miss my scooter in L.A. It was great for zipping around traffic. I only stopped when they made us start wearing helmets!!!

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    1. We're helmet proponents but I can attest that it feels kind of magical to ride without one. It's freeing...and a bit terrifying.

      I think it's a good sign that so many of my readers were former scooter owners. We're a smart bunch. :)

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  11. I actually kind of did what that guy did once (without the running) I was in a busy grocery store parking lot (I had just finished and was putting groceries in my trunk), when a guy in a big suv pulled into an angled parking spot, totally scraping the shit out of this mercedes. He peeked outside his window, then backed up and totally went to find another spot. I was in shock. When he got out, I walked up to him and started yelling at him that he couldn't just not leave a note. He was an ass but said he would I and said I would sit there and wait until he did. So he did but I still didn't want to leave in case he decided to take the note back, so I waited until he shopped and left, then I also added another note to the car with my info in case they needed a witness. He really did a number on the car too. The lady who owned the car called me to thank me. I would have felt terrible if I did nothing, and would hope someone would do the same for me.

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    1. Good on you, Tonya! I could totally see someone writing a fake note just to throw witnesses off the trail, or coming back for it afterwards.

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  12. I wasn't so lucky. My new Prius (6 weeks old) was hit in Wal-Mart's parking lot. They apparently were backing out because my bumper was dented and side panel had a crease. No note of course. It cost me the $500 deductible and my insurance company dinged me for the accident. Needless to say I switched insurance companies when my policy expired.

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    1. Oh, man. That really sucks, especially since your insurance company somehow faulted you for the incident. I really don't get that policy.

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  13. DBF,
    Glad you're paying it forward, there are good people in this world. Karma comes for everyone in the end. Now I know if I'm in AZ I got a ride.

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    1. You definitely have a ride, Charles. We'll be big pimpin in my Toyota Matrix. :)

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  14. What a guy! That is pretty awesome of him. I had an incident where an old (OLD!) man hit two kids in a cross-walk and drove right past them. I was driving, and my fiancé was sitting next to me mumbling the licence plate until we found the pen. We actually followed him to my fiancé's old building and saw him looking at his side panel (he KNEW he hit two boys and still drove away!). Anyway, we were called into court as witnesses and the whole deal. We were the reason why he got caught. And good on him. He got his licence taken away.

    So I think that when something happens you go into auto-pilot and do it. I don't know if I would have done it alone, but my fiancé is a pretty intimidating looking guy (shaved head, husky build, over 6' tall). He's good back-up, especially with an 80 year old assailant.

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    1. Whoa, that totally tops my story. I can't believe he'd hit kids and then drive off. What a creep! I'm so glad that you guys helped get his license revoked. I'd hazard to say he deserved worse.

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  15. Wow that's great that the guy (with 2 kids and one in a stroller no less) ran after the SUV to get the license plate. That's one cool dude! For some reason, I don't know many here in NYC would do that...though I'm sure there are some (maybe they moved here from AZ! haha). Glad that justice was served...I hate it when people get away with stuff like this. And props to you for paying it forward.

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    1. Thanks, Andrew. I bet there are plenty of New Yawkas who would lay down some justice, if given the opportunity.

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  16. This guy is Samaritan of the year too! I imagine you could have spent a few hours trying to get the CCTV footage to get a plate but he saved you a ton of trouble. The girl was probably such a bad driver that's the only way one can explain why she kept in reverse after hitting the scooter and went over it.

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    1. Great point about the CCTV, pauline. I might not have thought of that, I was so stressed at the time.

      Agreed about the driver -- she must have been a pretty green driver to have pulled off that maneuver.

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  17. Action done by person even after hitting is really a sign of responsible man.Appreciative!... you are lucky to get such response.it might happen with you because of your good karmas and i am happy to see that you are here to help too.
    My regards to you.

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  18. That's nice that a random stranger tried to help you. That's the kind of thing that restores my faith in humanity.

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    1. Me, too, Holly. It's nice to know that people have your back sometimes.

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  19. Oh my gosh!
    That is so lucky that you had such a vigilant stranger on your side!
    Father of the year indeed, he deserves some sort of medal! LOL:)

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    1. I really did get lucky to have that guy pull into the parking lot right then, Julia. It could have been a very different story.

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  20. What a lovely story

    It's great to hear there are still good Samaritans out there as it makes you think twice next time you see a similar situation going down :)

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