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My crazy evening last night & why I’m thankful I drive a used van

I spent yesterday afternoon at Starbucks and answering a multitude of emails involved with that. I left right before 5 p.m. to make it home before our babysitter had to leave.

I was in a bit of a rush to make it home in time, so I didn’t stop to go to the bathroom before leaving. Bad idea–especially since I had downed a Venti tea and a glass of water while I was at Starbucks.

A few blocks from home, I stopped abruptly to avoid hitting the car in front of me that had decided to turn at the last minute. A few seconds after braking, there was a loud crash and a big jolt as the car behind me rear-ended me.

Getting out to investigate, I discovered it wasn’t bad at all–just some minor scratches and scrapes to add to the collection already on the back of our well-used van. I figured I could just get the other driver’s insurance information and be on my way.

I should have known it wouldn’t be that simple. 🙂

The other car was a 2012 Mustang in pristine condition. The driver, a very friendly woman in her 40’s, was quite upset about the whole thing. And she had every reason to be: the front bumper of beautiful car had a large crack in it.

She had already called the police and said they were on their way.

I talked to Jesse on the phone and he said it couldn’t be long for the police to arrive, so we pulled into a residential area. I also texted the babysitter to let her know what was going on.

By this time, I really needed to go to the bathroom and I also noticed that the gas gauge was almost completely on empty. 20 minutes had passed and the police hadn’t arrived yet.

Surely, it couldn’t be much longer.

Jesse was becoming a little frustrated that it was taking the police so long to show up, so he started texting and calling a few of his police friends to see if he could help expedite the process. It was to no avail.

After an hour had passed, Jesse headed home to pick up the kids. He stopped by the nearest police station and talked to people there but no one seemed to be able to help us.

I was ready to just leave the scene and file a report at the police station, but the other driver really wanted to stay and wait. She kept calling the police and they kept saying they’d send someone as soon as they could.

I didn’t feel comfortable leaving without mutual consent, so I kept waiting, hoping that every car that passed was a police car.

Finally, after an hour and a half of waiting, someone from the police station called the other driver to let her know that an officer was on his way. Yay! I was so relieved that we were going to get everything processed and taken care of.

Maybe, just maybe, I’d get home by dinner time. Seeing as it was our anniversary and all, I kind of wanted to make it home in time for dinner!

Well, I’m not exactly sure what “on their way” means but it was another 40 minutes before the officer showed up. Yes, we had been waiting there for 2 hours and 20 minutes.

The good news? The officer who showed up was extremely nice. He apologized profusely and then started having us fill out our paperwork.

It was about this time that panic set in: I couldn’t find my driver’s license.

I pulled every piece of everything out of my purse and wallet and went through my computer case with a fine-toothed comb. It wasn’t there.

I was trying to stay calm, but my insides were churning. My husband represents lots and lots of traffic cases in court and I knew this was potentially a very bad thing and I could get hit with a misdemeanor. I’ve never even gotten a ticket in my life, so I was extremely upset to think of that mark on my record.

Remember how I said that the officer was so nice? Well, that graciousness came into play here. I think he sensed my genuine panic and, after checking my record and seeing it was squeaky clean, he told me that he wasn’t going to charge me for not having my license with me while driving.

Whew! I heaved a huge sigh of relief, expressed immense thankfulness, and finished filling out the paperwork.

After we were done, the van had a lot of trouble starting because it was almost out of gas, but I got it to start and prayed the entire four blocks home that it would make it. And it did.

3 hours and 15 minutes after I left Starbucks, I finally made it home. After making a beeline for the restroom, I retraced all of steps to figure out where my license could be.

And then I remembered: when I went to get my passport I’d made up a packet of everything I needed–including my license. In an attempt to be responsible, I’d taken this packet out of my purse when I got home completely forgetting my license was still in there.

Big oops.

Even though it wasn’t how I’d planned we’d spend our nine-year anniversary evening, there were some blessings in it:

::I’m so thankful no one was hurt. It could have been much worse.

::I’m thankful that the other woman willingly took responsibility for running into my van. It’s much more difficult when there’s a dispute over whose fault it was.

::I’m so, so thankful that the officer showed me grace.

::I’m very thankful I discovered I didn’t have my license. Kaitlynn and I are flying to Florida on Sunday for a Family Life event and it would have been bad had I showed up at the airport and then discovered I didn’t have my license.

::I’m thankful that I found my license when I got home.

::And finally, I’m thankful that I drive an older van with lots of character flaws. If you already have quite a few nicks and dings and scratches, it’s not a big deal to add a few more to the collection. 🙂

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126 Comments

  • kerrie says:

    My husband talks about wanting to replace our van with a nice car someday. I feel like it is just one more thing to worry about, especially with kids. I am with you, I prefer something that has some love. That way dings and dents are not such a bid deal. Makes life easier. I could totally relate to not being worried about the minor damage to your back end in the collision.

  • Teresa says:

    No license or a expired one does not go well with the TSA. My husband found this out a few years back when his license expired by a few days without him realizing. They held him up and at first refused to let him board. Then finally after a few calls he was allowed to board, but they told him he might not be able to get back home on the return flight. That was not a big problem, we had bought a round trip ticket because he was going to look at a car. We were almost certain he was going to drive it home, and the return ticket was only 35.00 more so we had bought it just in case. He did buy the car and drove it home instead.
    He almost missed the flight, I had turned around after dropping him off and was going to give him our vehicle registration which they said might help prove who he was, but when they found out I had 5 kids I with me and what a huge thing it would be for me to park, get them all in, and such they just pushed him on.

  • says:

    I am thankful you are safe and no one was hurt!

  • katherine says:

    I’m so glad to hear everything as alright with you now! Accidents are so scary to be involved in. As for your bladder, you are so lucky you were able to wait that long! After getting my first bladder infection my bladder was never the same. Even when I hold it in for a short minute because I’m not near a bathroom I develop a bladder infection and most antibiotics are too weak to treat them. Can you believe I actually have one right now and three antibiotics haven’t cured them? It sucks. But for anyone who is reading this, don’t hold your bladder. Pee, pee, pee!!! haha 😀

  • Brittany says:

    When I started reading this article, I was so sure you were about to tell the world… “I’m so glad I drive a used car… because I had to pee so bad… I peed all over the seat!”

  • Patti says:

    Sorry to hear about your accident. And glad you do drive an older van and are not worried about it. Isn’t it interesting how upset the other driver was about a crack in her brand new car? We also drive older vehicles and one has saved my life – we had an old Jeep Wagoneer that I was in while picking up my child at school. A day care van in front of me jumped out of gear and hit me going as fast as it could go. The driver was not in the car – it required her to get out to load the children in it. God was looking out for all of us because luckily no children were inbetween our cars, her children were still on the sidewalk and I was in that “tank”.
    It actually shoved my bumper and engine back about four inches. We also waited forever for the police but all of us were so thankful for no injuries that we didn’t mind. Now I have my teen age son in an old Volvo for the same reason. Don’t tell him but we don’t worry about any accidents that just cause vehicle damage. And the insurance is cheap!!

  • says:

    Ah crazy times! And I’m very glad you got your license in its proper place! Reminds me of the summer I was working in Yellowstone… I went to see a friend before she left and we went out to dinner in her car. Well, I had apparently left my wallet in her car under the front seat and didn’t remember… until I got stopped for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign before turning right (at 10pm in a National Park there is NO traffic!). Thankfully the officer didn’t give me a ticket for not having my license either, but it’s a good thing I got stopped because my friend was leaving in a couple days and then I was leaving the following week for a two week road trip home… it would have been almost impossible for me to get it back before she left and my road trip would have been shot!
    Those little things that we think are “bumps” as we’ve been discussing in our James Bible study can really turn out to be blessings in disguise!

  • sarah says:

    I’m sure that your positive attitude was an awesome witness to the other lady as well 🙂

  • mandi says:

    I think it is sort of funny that the other lady was the one who wanted to wait- since she was at fault. This happened to me when I was eight months pregnant with a new car. I was stopped at a yellow turning red that I knew I couldn’t make it. There was a car in the next lane that seemed like they wanted to try to get in my lane and the driver behind me was too busy watching him and drove right into me. A huge construction truck by the way. We just pulled over and exchanged information. His insurance covered my car’s rear end damage.

  • says:

    Oh my goodness! So glad you are okay…and that you didn’t go potty in your pants, cuz I REALLY thought that’s where this story was going at first 😉

    Praise the Lord, no one was hurt!

  • says:

    Glad you’re okay…I totally relate to the car-with-character thing: we were rear-ended going all of 5 miles an hour…we swapped a tiny bit of paint but everything else was fine. Still kinda scary though!

  • AkMom says:

    Been there, done that with forgotten license at airport. Annnnnnnd I live an hour’s drive from there!

    I was not a happy camper.

  • Heidi says:

    What a crazy afternoon! Glad everyone was safe. Happy belated anniversary! Our 15th anniversary was yesterday as well! 🙂

  • Julie says:

    I can’t believe you held your pee for that long. There is NO WAY I could have. Congrats. Glad everyone is OK as well.

  • MK says:

    For future reference, you ALWAYS have 24 hours to show proof of license at the police station from the time of the initial incident.

    • Crystal says:

      Unfortunately, in Kansas, that’s not the case–at least not according to the various laws my husband cited to me when I got home. I’ll definitely make sure to do my best never to drive without my license in hand again! Lesson learned!

      • MK says:

        Interesting…..I’ve gotten caught before and not had that problem. According to my brother who works for the State Patrol here it doesn’t matter what state you are in – legally you have the right to show proof, even if it wasn’t with you at the time of the incident, but you only have 24 hours from the time of the incident. I’ll have to ask him about that.

  • says:

    Wow! I’m glad you’re okay, and “all’s well that ends well” as Pa Ingalls liked to say. 😉 We got rear-ended twice within about a year’s time awhile back, with one incident totaling our Honda CRV (with our then 7 month-old in it). We were so thankful for God’s protection, and it made me aware whenever I drove after that just how amazing it is that so many trips go by uneventfully!

    Have a lovely time with Kaitlynn!

    Oh, and didn’t you get stopped for speeding awhile back? 😉 Maybe just a warning then, huh? The only speeding ticket I’ve ever gotten was in Kansas…bummer!

  • Lisa says:

    So sorry for your ordeal, but also thankful you didn’t pee in your pants! I know I would’ve!

  • crystal c says:

    Y0u should have said “don’t you know who I am?”.. I’m on Amazon’s top 20 book list. 😉

  • Kristina says:

    Crazy that the woman insisted on staying since she was the one that hit you!

  • Sara M. says:

    I too had an accident a little over a year ago. It was my fault and our van was totaled. We were going to leave for vacation in a week and a half. I was with our 4 kids. Not everyone has room for 4 kids, including my husband’s car. My cell phone was dying and I was trying to get a hold of someone to take us home. Someone from our church just happened to be later coming home that day, and saw us on the side of the road. She had a car large enough to take us home. Such a God thing, right there.

    The insurance company also gave us grace – the accident was Wednesday and we had our settlement money by Saturday. Two of our kids were visiting grandparents that weekend, so we were able to car shop in our other vehicle. Our new car was picked up by Monday and we were still able to leave for our vacation.

    Also a side note – there was a design flaw (rusted out strut tower) with our 10 yr old van that could have resulted in a terrible accident. It broke in this accident, but could have happened while driving down the road. A blessing in disguise …

    Also, I’ll also recommend the chiropractor too. My neck was really out of whack after this accident. I’m sure the accident 17 yrs previous didn’t help it either. I’m much better now.

  • says:

    I am glad you are okay. :0)
    The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14

  • says:

    All I could think of was you having to use the bathroom. Goodness. Lots to be thankful of in that post.

  • kimme says:

    So glad everyone is okay. Wow, that’s a long time for you to hold your bathroom urge, you poor thing!! I love that you were able to find so many things to be thankful for in a situation like that. It gets tough to find the “good” in things when we have to face all sorts of obstacles sometimes but reading this post really inspired me to become more like you and find the positive in things and be more thankful. Thank you!! And Happy Anniversary! Have a safe trip to Florida!

  • says:

    Hard to say what would have been worse….a minor car accident, or a major bladder accident!?!

    Reading this reminded me of my eventful 4th anniversary, which we spent in the hospital while my husband got to enjoy an emergency appendix removal! You will always remember your 9th! Sorry that you had all this happen though.

  • says:

    So, so glad you are okay and that you found your license.

    I will never forget my first day of college living off campus I was rear ended on a major road with no place to pull off. Not only did we wait for 1.5 hours for a police officer, we backed up traffic for miles. It was a tough day, but like you, still so much to be thankful for.

  • Caren says:

    Don’t fret over your license ever again and flying. My mom was able to board a plane with her wholesale club membership card because it had her picture on it. That’s scary.

  • Jenny says:

    THANK GOD YOU’RE OK CRYSTAL!

    And to still have such good spirits about it after all that- you are truly an amazing role model!

  • says:

    I’m so glad you’re okay! There’s of course never a good time for an accident, but they do always seem to happen at the *worst* time.

    When I was about 9, my parents had to go pick up my brother. My mom wanted to stay home with me, because I was already in my nightgown and she was wearing her not-fit-for-public shorts. My father assured her that neither of us would ever have to leave the car. He just wanted to have company for the drive.

    So we went, non-public shorts and nightgown and all. And of course we got rear-ended. And since this was WAY before cell phones, Mom and I had to walk to find a pay phone. And wait at a gas station for a neighbor to come pick up me and then go get my brother. Fun times. 🙂

  • Sylvia says:

    While reading your story, I kept on waiting for the time when your bladder would burst. Gosh, I hope you don’t get a UTI from holding it in that long! Good job, though. I am also glad nobody was hurt. About 3 yrs ago, I was rear-ended as well. The physical damage to the car was not that bad but it was totaled, in accounting terms. It was an old Volvo station wagon and the insurance company decided that the cost to get it repaired would have been more than the value of the car. That car already had a lot of aches & pains so I was like “yeah! We get to replace it!”. So basically, when we decided on my replacement car, we only had to put out 50% since the insurance claim covered the other half. They also reimbursed me for 2 carseats, any price, no questions asked. So I went out and got the nicest & best carseats on the market, lol.

  • Emily says:

    Okay I’m with all those who said that they couldn’t have held it that long. I would have been in serious pain.

    The good thing is since she hit you, she is liable, and so you shouldn’t have anything to pay for.

    I had to wait at an accident once for the cops. I was with my two boys–then aged 3 months and 2 years. Someone ran a red light and t-boned us. Scared me to death. But the cops took about an hour to get there and it was a bad neighborhood. The cop even said so when he arrived! I don’t get it, but I am so grateful you didn’t have your kids with you. In my situation, God provided some friends who happened to be following me in a car behind and stayed with us to help me watch kids on the street corner. Crazy!

  • says:

    Just finally able to go through my Google Reader and reading this – because I also was in an accident!! We found the downside to having an older car: it totals really easily. A 10 year old Dodge Grand Caravan with 90,000 miles is only worth $5500 according to the insurance company and the damage was $4500 so they totaled it. Now, we WOULD have gotten it fixed – had it not been for the fact that the safety frame post behind the driver’s side door was crushed. Hubby said he didn’t trust a repair on that. Had it just been exterior body stuff (the entire left side of the car was damaged but mostly the driver’s side door where he hit me at a 90 degree angle) it would have been a different story.

    So now I’ll be driving a new car – bought for the same price as what we were willing to pay for a 2 year old car!! It pays to know the owner of the dealership. 😉

    As for the potty issue? That’s my fear so I ALWAYS go before I leave anywhere. An accident can take forever and when you gotta go, you gotta go!! LOL

    But I’m so glad you are OK. My daughter and I are still sore 6 days later and my daughter is not allowed to work (she’s a cashier at a grocery store and a college student on break) and I’m laying low but fortunately, there is no spine issues. 🙂 Just muscles. It could have been so much worse but he was going only about 20 mph and I was going 32. Had it been high speed…..

  • says:

    Oh and I was expecting for you to say that you were glad it was an old car because you peed when you got hit! LOL

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