As I squeezed out of the tight parking spot, I heard the scraping sound of my fender rubbing the bumper of the truck parked ahead. My first reaction was to keep going, and I did.
I justified my escape; there couldn't have been any damage from such a slight meeting of bumper and fender. But in truth, the main reason was that I didn't want to deal with the owner of the truck.
Los Angeles is full of hustlers. This minor brush could cost me thousands of dollars or even put me in the middle of a never-ending court battle. I would be blamed for every dent on the person's car and every problem in his/her life.
But the incident struck a nerve in my deepest ethical core. As a fifth-grade teacher, I tell the children that must they take responsibility for their mistakes. I cut a mental deal with myself: I would look at my car and if there was even the slightest damage, I would go back. Guilt led me to my final decision: I would go back regardless of the state of my car.