I’ve always known this community has its share of people who lack driving skills. I’m starting to realize it’s got quite a few people who lack character as well.

My wife and I were unfortunate enough to witness both of these shortages over the weekend.

We had just finished a late dinner at one of our familiar Harker Heights eateries and were walking across the parking lot.

I got about 10 feet from our car and realized something was wrong.

As I got closer, I saw the extent of the damage. Someone had scraped and creased the back bumper, hitting it hard enough to pull it away from the rest of the car.

Fortunately, the damage was largely cosmetic. No lights were damaged in the mishap, but it was obvious this wasn’t going to be a cheap fix. It’s likely the whole bumper will have to be replaced.

I went around to the front of the car to see if the driver who hit us had left a note or a card with insurance information.

No such luck.

Of course, this is my wife’s car, and even though it’s 6 years old, we’ve taken really good care of it. With the exception of a small scratch on the passenger-side door, it looked almost as good as the day we drove it home from the dealership — until now.

Outwardly, my wife was fairly calm about the whole mess, but I could tell that deep down she was  upset.

I was livid that the person who scraped up our car had the audacity to just drive off. I know it’s petty, but as I stared at our scarred bumper, I hoped the driver’s car was damaged even worse than ours.

The next day, I went down to our insurance office to file a claim. The representative was very friendly and helpful and told me an insurance adjustor would be calling to set up an appointment to examine the damage.  

As I was leaving the insurance office, another employee told me that her car was hit while she was waiting on the side of the highway for a tow truck, and that driver just sped off, too.

What is wrong with people?

It’s possible that the person who hit our car didn’t have insurance — which is illegal, but unfortunately, somewhat common.

But there’s a bigger issue on display here — a lack of consideration for others.

I know I’m from a different generation than most drivers in our community, but I was brought up to respect others’ property and to do what’s right when you mess up.

That means that if you accidentally damage someone’s property — whether it be a mailbox, a parked car or a window, you either find the property owner and apologize in person, or you leave a note of apology and a phone number. It’s your obligation to make things right.

I’d like to think that people are still being brought up with those values, and the person who damaged our car Sunday night is an exception, rather than the rule.

If it was an older adult who hit our car and sped off, shame on you. You should know better.

If the driver was younger, that is no excuse. Whatever the consequences you were worried about — the cost of repairs, higher insurance premiums or simply an angry parent — own up to your actions. We’d both feel better for it.

If the person who damaged our car was speeding at the time, slow down. Next time the outcome could be much worse.

Fortunately for me and my wife, our insurance will likely pay for a majority of the repair bill. In a few days, our car should be as good as new.

Sadly, I can’t say the same for my faith in some of my fellow drivers.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion for the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at dmiller@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7543.

Dave Miller is deputy managing editor for opinion of the Killeen Daily Herald and editor of the Harker Heights Herald. Contact him at dmiller@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7543.

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dmiller@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7543

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