During our Colombian invasion, we grew really close to the students who were staying with us. It’s hard not to when you see so much of someone in such a short period of time!
By the end of the summer, we had grown comfortable enough with them to even let them borrow our car a few times around Atlanta. They always brought it back without any problems. Their last weekend in town, they wanted to go to an event a couple of hours away. I couldn’t go with them, so I said they could take my car and drive themselves down.
Several hours later, I got a call from a police officer. Our guests had been in an accident.
My heart sank into my toes. My first concern, of course, was for their well-being. But after I found out that they hadn’t been injured, my attention quickly shifted to the state of my car. I was imagining a mangled wreck, or at the very least a totally smashed up door or bumper.
In this case, we were extremely fortunate. Our guests weren’t hurt at all, and the only damage to my car was a small-ish dent in the rear bumper. In fact, the accident wasn’t even their fault, so eventually I was able to get the other driver’s insurance to pay to fix all damages.
It was a huge relief, the best possible outcome of what could have been a really terrible situation.
It did serve as a good reminder for me, however. No one is immune to accidents, no matter how much you trust them or how careful they are. If you choose to lend something to someone, you need to be ok with never getting it back.
Of course, the majority of the time, you will get it back, in just as good condition as it was when you lent it. But what if that one exception to the rules happens to be with the thing you can’t replace, can’t live without? That’s no good for anyone involved.
I have lent my car again since then. But only after mentally deciding that I’d be ok if the car got totaled. If you go into a lending situation expecting the worse, you won’t be blindsided if the worst happens. And the drama-free returns will make you all the more happy!
Moral of the story: Don’t lend something to someone unless you’re prepared to never get it back :).