Monday, June 15, 2015

The Gift I Got From Getting Robbed

I'm going way back with this story...

Joe and I had been married a couple of years and were living in our first Los Angeles apartment.  I was driving a black Tahoe, my favorite non-Maserati car until they changed the body a few years ago.

I walked out of our house and into our nice neighborhood, to my car that'd been parked on the street overnight.  Reaching into my bag for the key (yes, we used actual keys back then) I noticed a small crack in the fiberglass surrounding the keyhole.

I took a walk around the car and noticed no other visible damage.  But anticipating that I may put the body repair through my car insurance, I wanted documentation of the damage.

I got into my car and called the police department to file a report.  The officer explained that with even just that small crack, a thief could have entered the car.  "Is anything missing?", he asked.  I quickly checked the stereo, CD holder (God, I'm old), sunglass holder and change compartment.  I assured him everything was intact.

"Are you sure nothing is missing from the car?", the officer repeated.  "It's all here," I answered.

I hung up the phone, started the engine and looked over my shoulder before backing the car out of it's space.  That's when I noticed that my entire third row seat was missing.

Dialing the police department right back, I asked to speak with the same officer who'd taken the initial report.  He laughed as I explained my discovery of the missing chairs.  Apparently third row seats for that car were a hot item on the black market and the moment I'd relayed the vehicle's make and model, the officer knew exactly what the thieves were going for.

My mind was a little blown- partly because we lived in a highly populated area with a lot of nightlife and neighbors milling about 24/7, but also because there had to have been at least 3 people on the job to lift the monstrous seat and get it into a pickup truck.

What assholes.  Ninja-like assholes.

The insurance claim was filed and the seats were replaced without a hitch.  Still, I've thought about that morning several times in the decade since it first occurred, for reasons other than what you might assume.  The message it leaves with me is nothing about theft or car insurance.  The lesson is way greater than that.  When I think of what happened that morning, I remember one thing.

I didn't look back.

Simply put, had I looked behind me, I'd have known from the start what was missing.

Lately life has felt to me like a race to the finish line.  Everyone wants to have the best run, the best time, the biggest win.  And people are afraid to back, for fear that it will slow their forward momentum.

My experience has been just the opposite.  It's only in looking back that I learn from past experiences and have an opportunity moving forward to grow from them.

Looking back, that officer did way more than take an incident report.