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Sunday, July 28, 2013

A dent in good parenting

Everyday, we encounter situations where our character and morals are put to the test.  It could be something huge - do you jump into the pool to save a drowning person? Or, it could be something insignificant - do you clean up after your dog in the park?  For parents, the significance of our decisions is usually doubled.  It puts us to the test, and it also puts our children through a lesson.  This weekend, I unfortunately witnessed first hand how a learning opportunity was squandered by another parent.

My car was parked at Downtown East and I was heading back to get some stuff from the car.  There was a grey MPV parked beside and I saw this middle aged man opening the rear door towards my car. He looked like he was taking an unusually long look at his door and instinctively, I felt that something was wrong. It must be the Spider Man movie that I caught on TV the night before as my spider sense proved to be right.  I checked the right side of my white car and notice a new dent with a bit of grey paint on it.  I didn't want to accuse anybody so I went up to the grey MPV to take a closer look as it stopped at the drop off point nearby.  True enough, the edge of the rear door of the grey MPV had a scratch with white paint on it and at the same height as my dent.

The driver must have felt that I was standing too close to his car as he got out of his car to see what I am up to.  I asked him point blank whether he caused a dent in my car and showed him the matching points of contact and paint colour.

He didn't answer my question but instead reacted defensively by saying that his car has many dents caused by other people too.  He then said that the fresh scratch that I pointed out on his car must have been created along with some other scratches on the side of the door.

I told him that was obviously a lie and he should admit to his mistake.  I wasn't going to make him pay.  In fact, if he could be a gentleman and apologise for an unintentional act, that would suffice.

He gave an arrogant smirk before his parting shot - "You can't prove it."

In return, I took a good look at his kids, wife and maid in his car and told him that while I cannot prove it, his kids will in time mimic his bad behaviour.

It was easy for that man to avoid apologising to a stranger today, but I think he would have a difficult time teaching his loved ones the values of honesty and courage tomorrow.  The dent might physically be in my car, but the real lasting dent lies within the vehicle with the registration number SJL5345R.


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