Tuesday, July 16, 2013

No such thing as a hit and run - São Paulo

This is a photo I took with my phone of the car that just hit me. Yes, that brown car in front of me. She had cut a corner in order to pass me on the right and get in front of me at the light. She bonked the right front bumper of my car and squeaked in front of me. She did not stop her car, she did not get out, she did not acknowledge me flashing my lights and beeping at her.

So I did what they tell you not to do. I chased her. Okay, it was a slow chase because it was raining and you can see the current traffic. I followed her until she finally turned down a side road and stopped her car. I got out, she got out. She said "why are you following me?" My jaw dropped. "Because you hit me." She then says "show me" and I show her the (small) scratch and dent on my car's front bumper. She looks at me and shrugs and says "ah, these little bumps and scratches happen all the time in this city." And then I say "I am going to report this to the police." She gives me a pitying glance and says "go ahead." And she gets back into her car and drives away.

Reporting crime to the police is not easy. Sometime I will tell the story of the stolen wallet on the bus, and the inability to report it because of a missing toner cartridge. For today, let me just say that my hit-and-crawl driver bet correctly. I never reported it. And the bumper scratch is just one of many on my city car. But it reminds me every time of the feeling of helplessness I had at that moment.

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