The man who knocked on my front door pointed to the curb. “Is that your car? Instantly you know there’s no good news to be had. Which doesn’t, of course, keep you from fantasizing he’ll say, “I just wanted to say that I totally love those older model Toyota Corollas. Such classic lines. And SO affordable.”
But, of course, what he said was, “A truck just hit your car and took off.”
It wasn’t just any truck. The good Samaritan on my porch had been painting the house across the street when a big service vehicle bearing the prominent logo of a Famous Company sheared off the driver’s side mirror assembly of my car sending its now-micro-pieces some 30 feet ahead in a truly impressive debris field.
The driver stopped, quickly looked around, and then sped off.
I do have to say that doing a hit-and-run in a well-marked business vehicle with a GPS on it may not be the smartest move. Obviously, he didn’t think anyone had seen him.
Both the house painter and I tried calling Famous Company but among their many customer options was not “Report hit-and-run by service vehicle.”
Before “the body” could be moved (or in this case, vac-ed up), the police came out and took crime scene photos. I took a bunch, too.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I was finally able to get through to Thelma at Famous Company’s Risk Management office, apparently in the South. She did not inspire confidence that this matter would be resolved quickly. When asked to describe what happened, I said — exact words — “One of your vehicles hit my car, sheared off the driver’s side mirror, and left the scene. It was a hit-and-run.” Thelma drawls, “Oh, mah. Thas more than Ah can put in that spaice.”
Over the next four days, both the house painter and I were called repeatedly by the police, my insurance company, and several levels of Famous Company people — field supervisors, Risk Management, Third Party Claims Assessment. I went over to the neighbor’s house and apologized to him where he was still trying to get a little painting in between phone calls. “I’ve never been so popular,” he laughed.
On the fourth day, Famous Company said they were coming out to do a crime scene re-enactment. The painter needed to be there, too. When I told my husband, he said, “Do you get to be the truck this time?”
They were really hoping for a house painter who smokes dope on the job and calls you “dude.” Their bad luck; this guy was the sharpest witness in America.
Famous Company was dismayed that I had had my mirror replaced, never mind messed with the crime scene. I assured them that I had ample photos of the corpse.
They had me put my car in the exact place on the street where it had been hit so the distance could be measured from the mirror to the ground. The Famous Company field guy admitted that the GPS on their truck shows it being precisely in front of my home at 4:32, the reported time of the crime. And the painter’s description of the driver was dead on. But, sacre bleu, their truck shows no damage in the corresponding place. How could it have hit my mirror?