This is a story about a little girl who threw a rock and unknowingly broke my car’s windshield. It happened in a corporate parking lot adjacent to an apartment complex separated by a seven foot high retention wall. The girl who threw the rock had never seen the parking lot and I’d never seen the interior of the apartment complex. Chance would bring us together over a broken windshield and I learned a lesson about honesty.
Here’s the scenario: A quarter mile wall separates an apartment complex from a heavily occupied corporate parking lot. Meanwhile my girlfriend after having her own car disabled in a fender bender caused by an inexperienced college student borrows my car for work and parks it along said separating wall in said corporate parking lot. After a long day of work she gets ready to head home and after nearly getting stoned to death, discovers that my car has suffered some collateral damage. A phone call and fifteen minutes later I’m staring at what used to be a perfectly working windshield. I am fuming. In an attempt to hold someone responsible, I climb and jump over the retention wall (almost killing myself by not realizing that the bottom on the other side is much further down) in search of the criminal.
The first person I encounter is a little boy (about 8 years old or so) collecting pine cones. He immediately freezes with stranger danger when I approached him. With a fake grin on my face – which probably didn’t help the situation any – I ask him if he or anyone he knew of had been throwing anything over that wall. The boy immediately stammers something along the lines “I don’t know, I…uh…was dead at the time” and bolts. Go figure, I think to myself. If I had been in the boy’s shoes, I probably would have done the exact same thing.
After walking a bit further, I see a girl (about 10 years old) also collecting pine cones. By this time I’ve made a more concerted effort to appear friendly and manage to introduce myself before asking her whether she knew of anyone throwing stuff over that wall. She immediately admits throwing a rock over the wall and without stammering or searching for words explains that she heard a crash on the other side followed by a car alarm right after. She knew she had done something she wasn’t supposed to, and she knew that she had probably caused some damage. I was so thrown by her honesty and “matter of fact” explanation that I completely forgot about being angry. All I could think of was “Wow!”
I told her that she did indeed break my car’s windshield by throwing that rock and she apologized immediately. I asked her if I could speak to her mother and she proudly announced that her mother was the apartment complex manager and could probably take care of all of this. I was still in shock over her honesty and fearlessness over what was surely to come. Without me even asking, her mother – who was clearly upset with her daughter about what she had done – agreed to pay for the windshield repair on the condition that I give her a receipt of the costs. I walked back to my broken car, not angry, but deeply impressed by a young girls’ honesty and courage and it made me happy.