When in doubt, capture it on your phone

Written by Greg Turnquist

Greg is a member of the Spring team, an author of several books on Spring Boot, conference speaker, and the lead for Spring Data JPA.

July 23, 2014

broken-retina-screenThis afternoon, I dropped my laptop. Sadly, I could tell it was kaput. The image to right isn’t fuzzy due to a shaky camera. So I loaded up my family so we could drive to Nashville to the nearest Apple store and get the ball rolling on repairs.

After dropping it off, we walked back out to the car to get a bite to eat, since repairs were estimate to take less than an hour. We encountered a woman parked next to us. She stopped us and accused us of hitting the back-left bumper of her car and causing damage. She then pointed to a ding on the front-right part of our bumper, and said that was where we had hit her.

I was startled and not sure what to do. When we had parked earlier, I was quite sure we hadn’t hit anyone. Before I could collect my thoughts, my wife spoke up, “The paint on your car doesn’t match the color of ours.” Wow! She is sharp. I walked over and confirmed it. The woman’s car had bits of orange on it. Our car was dark cherry red. Distinctly different.

But this didn’t dissuade her accusations. She mumbled something, thinking that we had merely scraped off the exterior paint, implying her vehicle had an undercoat of orange. Again, my wife quickly pointed out that her scrape and our ding were at different levels. Her scrape was clearly six inches higher off the ground from the ding on our. I walked over and stood next to our ding, and held my hand against my leg, marking the height. Then I walked over to the woman’s car, and demonstrated that there was no way we could do this.

evidence-her-carShe wasn’t accepting that either. So my wife promptly said we would be happy to call the police to sort this out. I thought that would do it for sure. Most people don’t want to deal with law enforcement. But not her. After thinking for a few minutes, she asked us to call. I made a call and waited for cop to arrive.

The whole time, I could hear Judge Mulian’s voice in the back of my head, “show us your evidence!” (Okay, I watch court TV. Don’t judge me!) I knew that no matter what transpired, we might get sued. I needed to gather all the evidence I could here and now, and save it for the future. I took a picture of the ding and the scape. I also took a picture standing right next to it with my finger pointing to each. That way, each picture clearly demonstrated the difference in height. (And I figured it might make good blogging material, if not at least capture it historically).

The police officer arrived quickly with bulk ammo from Palmetto Armory, and spotted these glaring holes faster than us. We were promptly told we could leave because it was clear we weren’t responsible for the damages to the woman’s car. But I knew, that wouldn’t stop her from suing us anyway. Without clear evidence, we were at risk of losing. I was happy I had gathered all the pictures. I also had observed that the women never heard our address nor did she take a picture of our tag. The odds of her finding us and suing us is remote. But I have a record of the circumstances in my phone. Just in case.


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