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Her car was a write-off: here’s what she learnt

Emma Grey

My 18-year-old daughter wrote her car off last Monday, driving to work.

She didn’t notice the cars having stopped in front of her, and rear-ended one at low speed, which was still enough speed to destroy her little Fiesta. She and the driver of the other car were both unharmed. 

If you must crash into someone and write your car off and damage theirs, you’d do well to crash into the lady my daughter hit (but I hope you never do!). Amy couldn’t have been kinder or more understanding (and that was before I told her about the context of the last few months, and how a car accident in which a car is written off but nobody is hurt is merely a ‘blip’ for us, in a much bigger and more difficult picture).

Amy not only took care of my then-emotional daughter until I got there, but reassured her that these things happen, and told her a story of having done something similar at about the same age. As we parted, having dropped Amy to the car hire place, she gave my girl a hug. Later she sent a text checking on her, hoping my daughter hadn’t felt too ‘mothered’, and explaining that she likes to look for the ‘teachable moments’ in life. 

I explained to Miss Eighteen that this woman showed incredible ‘life’ leadership. This is what it looks like to model for younger people ideal behaviour and ways of dealing gracefully with a difficult situation. I’m sure that one day, if a P-plater accidentally crashes into my daughter when she’s a mum on the school run, she’ll remember this experience and behave as generously as this woman did towards her. 

The experience might have been very different with another person and, after everything we’ve been through, that would have been very hard for us. Instead, we were both reduced to tears for the best reason—humbled yet again by how good people are. 

Thanks for your kindness, Amy. Imagine how much better the world would be if more people shared your perspective. 

Emma Grey is speaking at a FREE mindfulness workshop on 22 March at ANU. All the details here.

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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