Friday, April 27, 2007

The Inaccuracies of Accurate Concrete Cutting

Today Krista went with Z to the airport to pick up Krista's mom. On the way home (11:15 a.m.)a softball-sized chunk of rock flew out of the back of a truck from Accurate Concrete Cutting and struck the windshield. Krista was driving about 60, and a big cloud of dust and rubble accompanied the chunk of concrete. Here's what happened to the windshield:



Of course they were all frightened. I'm glad that the windshield didn't give in... I think evidence that God was watching over them. Krista sped up to try to get the license plate, but the truck was moving too fast... Krista sped up to 70 but couldn't catch them. They were moving back and forth between lanes, apparently in a big hurry. They did get the name of the company and a partial on the license plate.

So Krista's mom called the concrete cutting place and they were very apologetic and said, "of course we'll take care of it", they just needed to have the owner call us back. So I called our insurance. They were startled to hear that the concrete company had agreed to pay. "Usually they just say... you have no way to prove that came out of our truck, we weren't there at that time, things like that."

We called the police, too, but they said they only take reports if the damage totals more than $700. Which is fine.


So, the owner of the company calls and says that he talked to his drivers and they said they had been where we "claimed" to have been... an hour ago (it had only been about 20 minutes at this point) and that they had been "on site" since then. They also said that there had been a big logging truck that threw some stuff off on them and that maybe that had flown off, hit their truck and been thrown up onto our car.

I told him that the rock had clearly come from their truck and he said, "Sir, that truck was empty. They were on the way to a job. There was nothing in it. I had them pull over and look inside the truck and make sure, and it was empty."

Here we see several issues: 1) They had been "at the same place as us" an hour ago, while we were there about 20 minutes before. 2) They had been "on site" for the last hour. 3) He had called them and they had "pulled over" to check the bed of the truck. Seems like Mr. Owner could have at least had the respect to work on making a consistent story.

Anyway, I said to him, "I'm sure that the truck was empty. It was throwing out rocks all over the road." He told me again that it was empty. I said, "Are you telling me that it's a brand new truck that has never had anything in it?" He just kept saying it was empty.

In the end, it was clear that they weren't interested in taking responsibility for what had happened. I asked him if he wanted me to call him back with a quote for the windshield and he said "NO!" That was the end of the call.

So we had to report it through our insurance. I ended up driving in to Portland and getting it fixed. It cost us $100. It cost the insurance company about $150. It cost somebody at Accurate Concrete Cutting a bit of integrity.

Me, I'd rather spend $100 than lie or shirk responsibilites. Not that I know who is lying... the boss or the drivers of the truck or both. But somebody over there is not telling the truth, obviously.

I realized as I thought about it throughout the day several things.

1) I'm thankful that my wife and daughter and mother-in-law are okay.

2) It is unjust that my family and the insurance company had to pay for what happened. You know, I would have been open to splitting the cost with the company. I don't think what happened with the rock was malicious. Negligent, maybe.

3) The inability to take responsibility for your failings causes more problems. As the day went on, having to pay for the window seemed a lot less of a big deal compared to the thought that the owner may not talk to his drivers about going the speed limit on the highway. He might not make sure their trucks are cleaned out properly. And that might mean that someone could get hurt. I find that a lot more disturbing... that the lies and avoidance of responsibility may result in not taking dangerous behaviors seriously.

4) In the end, my anger has subsided into sadness about our human condition. Too often in my own life I've denied the "concrete rocks" that my failings in life throw out on those around me. And when I do that, those things can only continue.

5) It's tempting to sell your integrity for cheap. Don't do it. Your integrity is worth more than money. Remember that!

6) My family means more than money, too. I'm glad that the whole thing only cost me a couple of hours and a hundred bucks, and that my family is safe.