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An encounter with a person of great integrity

Date published: 3/1/2013

While preparing for some company, I went to Halls, a supermarket, in Colonial Beach. I parked my car, walked toward the market and said a quick hello to a former colleague as she departed the store. After purchasing some items, I rolled the grocery cart to my car and emptied the contents.

I noticed an elderly woman parked behind me. She got out of the car and walked toward me. She said, "I have been sitting in my car waiting for the owner of this car to come out of the store. I drove into the parking spot too quickly and hit your bumper."

She continued, "I didn't think I hit it very hard until I noticed that I made the car move."

There was observable damage. Two areas were dented, one worse than the other. She stood behind me as I looked. She wore glasses, her hair was speckled with flecks of gray, and her complexion the color of light chocolate milk. I acknowledged the damage as she awaited my reaction. "Do you want my insurance information?" she asked.

What could I say? I was dumbfounded. She waited for me to return to the car before doing her own shopping. Did she wait five minutes, 10 minutes, or more? I had no way of knowing. I do know, however, that I encountered a person of integrity. How easy it would have been for her to leave the premises without consequence.

"No need for your insurance card," I replied. "My car is just fine." She asked again, "Are you sure?" I was sure--sure that this woman possessed honor, sure that I hope I remember the lesson she taught me about owning up to my errors rather than fleeing from them, and sure sorry that I didn't ask her name.

Mary Connors-Parker

Colonial Heights