By Letty • September 12, 2022

When we bought our small house many years ago, there was an enormous Japanese Red Pine in the yard, close to where our neighbors parked their cars. One day I looked out the window and saw four black crows surrounding a baby squirrel, as if hunting it. I went outside, the crows flew to a branch of the tree, and the squirrel froze. So I picked up a large rock, and making certain to aim in the opposite direction of the cars parked nearby, I hurled the rock at the crows…except the stone ricochet off a branch, hurtled at a 90 degree angle and shattered the window of a new white Prius. My blood ran cold.

In dread and calm, I put my name and phone number under the windshield, went back inside and watched to see which neighbor’s car window I destroyed. Later a young man came to the Prius and I ran out to explain the accident and promised to take full responsibility. He was very humble and kind, called his relatives who were my neighbors (he was visiting) and everyone came out to see! Each person was also very kind…yet, I heard the young man ask his older sister, “How will I go to the wake?” He and his young family was on their way to attend his newly deceased grandmother’s wake…and now he also had no car! I quietly cried in remorse and such regret…but that made this family even kinder! And as if this weren’t bad enough, the Prius belonged to the company he worked for, which allowed him it’s use. With all this, a warm forgiveness and a calm, positive outlook embraced me, as if I were one of their own family!

The young man called his company, an explanation of events was given, a rental was covered, and the evening’s family memorial gathering was attended to on time. The very next day I received a phone call from an agent of the company’s insurance office. In an unexpected voice of further kindness, she accepted my explanation of how this accidental damage occurred and agreed to cover all but a tiny fraction of the windshield’s replacement.

I was awestruck at the glowing example for myself and every young child and teen in my neighbor’s family; at the instant, decisive “cues” from her and her brother, to respond with utter kindness, to the harm I had done. What forgiveness looks like.


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