The Wealth of a Nation

Recently my son, Porter, wrecked his car giving money to the homeless. He was coming to a rolling stop at the exit of the parking lot after long hours of making sub sandwiches for hungry customers, when he spied a homeless woman at the curb, holding a sign. Reaching for a little something to help is an automatic response, but normally I’m driving, so he can make the handoff without incident. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there and the momentary distraction was just enough time for his little Mazda to run straight under the bumper of a large van. It was his fault, and he definitely got the worst of it. Thankfully, no one was harmed.

I got the message at work, and dropped everything to get to Porter. When I arrived 30 minutes later, the police had left, and the other driver had motored off with Porter’s insurance in hand so she could get her bumper fixed. Porter got out of what was left of his car, and we surveyed the damage.

“I don’t know, do you think we need a tow truck?”

“That’s pretty expensive.”


“It still turns on, and I got it from there to here,” he said, gesturing from the lot exit to the parking space we stood in.

Andy’s Auto Shop wasn’t far, maybe a mile or two at most. At issue was the left turn onto a very wide and busy boulevard with no shoulder, in other words, no margin of error for a car running almost exclusively on uncertainties.

“Drive it around the parking lot, and we’ll see what we can see.”

In the end we took the risk with me following behind. I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled into Andy’s for forty-five minutes of minutiae which boiled down to “The hood is folded in half, and large chunks of the engine are no longer in their natural habitat.” The important part is actually what came next.

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