Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Does character matter anymore?

I am so disheartened with recent events in my life. I'm struggling with the notion that, while I know good people exist (in addition to some I know in "real" life, I've also "met" so many good hearted, fine, upstanding people through blogging!), I wonder if the larger population even cares about good character or integrity or personal responsibility. As I mentioned before, my husband was involved in a hit and run accident last month. The young man (22 years old) who made an illegal lane change and hit Randey, fled the scene of that accident. An off duty police officer witnessed the accident and following the offender as he fled, catching up to him after about 15 miles as the young man turned into and parked at a shopping mall. Upon his apprehension, police escorted the young man back to the scene of the accident, where he proceeded to lie about his version of what happened. He claimed he had no idea that he had hit someone. He thought he'd merely "spun out" on the wet road. Because there were witnesses to the actual accident (another witness returned to the scene and also gave his information to the police), the police arrested the young man for hit and run. At that time, the guy claimed he had insurance. Another lie. I don't really get that one. It's not like they were just going to take his word for it. He had to produce evidence of that insurance coverage and, of course, he could not. Yet he lied about it anyway. This young person hit another car with his car, fled the scene of the accident, lied about how the accident happened and what actually happened in the accident and then lied about having insurance coverage. No character. No integrity. No personal responsibility. Then someone rams my car in a parking lot and leaves without thought as to the hardship they have caused. They were more interested in avoiding responsibility than owning up to it. What's that all about? How does that work? How can you cause that much damage to another person's property and be only concerned for yourself? I'm no saint, God knows, but I can't fathom ever doing that to someone. Then again, maybe I would. Maybe I don't have any more character or integrity than the next person. I like to think I do, but maybe I'm just fooling myself.
This last situation that makes me question things like character and integrity and personal responsibility has to do with one of my cousins. Does anyone remember me talking about our "cousin getaway" from earlier in August? Well, Randey had actually reserved the room for us at the resort and used our credit card to pay. When we arrived at the resort, one of my cousins asked if we could transfer the reservation over to her name so that she could use her husband's Marriott points and maybe get an upgrade (maybe free breakfast or something like that, she suggested). Not caring whose name it was in, I said fine. As she and I checked in, I was standing there when the clerk said there would be no problem with doing that. He then asked for her debit card for any incidentals, etc., which she gave him. The next morning, as we were all "paying up", there was a discussion amongst us about whose card the room charges were on. My cousin called the front desk and upon hanging up, told us all that her debit card was the one charged. So we all paid her for our shares of the room, approximately $34.00 each. I actually gave her $40.00 because all I had was twenties and told her not to worry about the change. Imagine my surprise when I got my credit card bill in the mail and saw that my credit card had been charged for the room ($169 and some change!). I immediately called my cousin to tell her about this and to request a copy of her bank statement so that I could contest the charges on my card. At that point, I was hoping it was an error on the part of the resort ( i.e, they double billed us for the room). Days later, my cousin calls me back and tells me that her debit card was not charged and that she would send me a check right away. A week later, I still hadn't received a check, but my cousin called to say it was a bank error - she had requested the payment to me via Quicken, there had been a screw up, but not to worry, a check was on its way. Another week passed with no check. Upon inquiry, my cousin told me that her bank was just "really messing up bad" - even her mortgage payment was screwed up, but no fear...a check was on its way. And now, more than yet another week has passed. Still no check. Still hearing about her bank screwing up, only now the story is joined with tales of a sick kid and admonitions that I should not be "ugly" about it and should be patient. ("Ugly" consisted of me e-mailing her, asking what was up and to please tell me if she was having money problems or even if she never intended to pay me so I would quit looking for the check to arrive.) It's been over 6 weeks since our "cousin getaway". I don't know about you guys, but if I'm expecting a $169 withdrawal from my bank account via my debit card, I'm aware of it and would have questioned why it hadn't been processed within a week of the resort visit. Assuming that didn't occur to my cousin, however, I would hope that I would have rectified the situation within days of learning of it just because it would be the right thing to do. It's now been over 3 weeks since I told her my credit card was charged and I still have not received payment from her, and in fact am being "briefed" over my lack of patience and understanding. It's crushing me that this is happening. Us cousins had sworn to each other that we were going to treat each other right - we wouldn't make the mistakes of the previous generation. We were going to be open and honest and straightforward with one another and be family. But, for whatever reason and for whose ever fault it is, at least two of us don't seem to be doing that. I've agonized over this. Is it me? Am I not patient enough? Have I not given her plenty of time to fix this? Am I wrong to feel like I've been screwed after this much time has passed? I keep telling myself not to judge too hastily, not to be too fast to feel like history is repeating itself in this generation. But I can't seem to help but feel like enough time has passed and even if she should send that payment now, the damage is done. There was no consideration for my point of view - no thought to my credit card payment being due - no feeling of urgency to set things right. This "cousin getaway" room charge cost one cousin $34. It cost my sister and her daughter a combined $68. It cost me $209 (the entire room charge, plus the $40 cash I gave my cousin). My other cousin, however, made $142.00. It just doesn't seem right, it doesn't feel right and I can't help but wonder if I simply was not meant to be a part of a larger family picture. I seem to be involved in way too many bad feelings within the family and this is just one more incident. Maybe I'm taking it too personally, or too hard or whatever. Maybe I am just an impatient witch. Doesn't really matter at this point, now does it? Either way, I'm even further outside my extended family than I've ever been. Sometimes it seems like the harder I try, the more I learn I shouldn't. Yeah. Like I said earlier, I am so disheartened by recent events in my life.
Maybe this new season will bring changes for the good, eh? One can only hope.

20 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you are feeling down & that you have these problems to deal with. You are right, it's not fair or honourable for people to behave like this (especially family too).

    (Hugs)

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  2. I've always been open and honest and I've always expected the same from other people. My husband calls me gullible; more often than not, he's right. I've mentioned before on my blog, and in comments, that there are basically 2 types of people in this world; Givers and Takers. I found out very early in life that the Givers are outnumbered and the Takers take advantage.

    I hope it works out, I hope your money is reimbursed to you, and I hope your family stays intact. I'm so sad that this is happening to you.

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  3. Kari, sorry this is all working out like it is but sometimes people show their true colors in a situation like this. If you were only out $34 from her that would be one thing and you could probably write it off to experience. But this is a lot of money and I don't think you should let her off the hook. Sometimes ya just gotta hold people accountable! Ask her if she'd like to pay you back on bi-weekly or monthly installments. Here I am giving you advice and I'm not even sure you asked, lol. Good luck with this and keep the faith, kiddo.

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  4. Awww, more crap going on? That does make the necessary three, right? I'd assure this cousin that you are not being ugly, rather that you are giving her the opportunity to do the right thing. Then that would be it. No more discussion. You should certainly forgive her, but you don't ever have to put yourself in a situation where she can pull the same trick.

    Hang tough. Things will be looking up soon. Oh, are you learning what to do when stressed instead of eat? Let me know, wouldja?

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  5. Several years ago, my wife was rear-ended at a stop light by a girl in Bronco going 50 mph. She presented all the paperwork. Later when we filed, it turned out she was not covered on that insurance. My wife informed the officer who was on the scene and he acted like "That's the wy the cookie crumbles." It was if he wasn't going to look into it and he wasn't going to write her a ticket based on our word. the ticket fine for failing to maintain financial responsibility, in Texas, trumps almost all other tickets you can get. We wanted her to get another ticket.

    Recently, we had Hurricane Ike evacuees-then-refugees staying at my house. And due to similar drama, they will not be invited to stay for whatever reason. And now I'm the jerk in the family.

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  6. Frustrating!!!! I hope your cousin does make it right even late... because if she doesn't it will always be a sore spot for you. I think the only other thing to do would be to let it go and never make the same mistake. It's not fair and she probably realized it pretty fast and hoped you wouldn't notice the charge or wouldn't say anything if you did notice it. It makes you feel rotten to be lied to.

    There are decent people. You just have to look a little harder...

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  7. Holy cow, I'd be having a royal kiniption (however you spell it) over this. Wow. I am flabbergasted that someone would have the nerve to think they could get away with that-- and to a family member. wow. There are people with integrity. I find them occasionally. I am teaching my children that integrity stands above all-- hopefully it will sink in to at least one of them. We're the family that tells you when a child has broken something of yours, or returns the extra change to a cashier. It's only right. I'm sorry about your car, Randey's car and this terrible start to Fall!

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  8. It's a shame that even family will lie to you. We always want to think better of them, think that they'd never do something like that to us. Maybe there's a reason for not paying back the money right away, but there's no excuse for lying about it.

    I've always been one to help my family whenever they needed money. But we've gotten burned so many times by our own children that we've taken a hard-line attitude and closed the bank.

    It's just so hard to realize that people can be that cruel to their own relatives.

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  9. I am so sorry to hear you have been taken advantage of, by your cousin, Kari!

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  10. Sorry to hear about the money thing, that is SO not cool. You would think family would be the last to take advantage of people, but turns out they are usually first in line. I hope you get your money back. So much for that cousin meeting every year huh?

    I really hate that you are having to deal with yet another hit and run. That totally sucks. Some things in life are so unfair.

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  11. It's bad enough when complete strangers do something like that to you, but its really unthinkable when its family! What a sticky situation. Your family Thanksgiving dinner should be really interesting this year.

    Good luck!

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  12. I don't know what to say to this, Sissy...I'm sorry you had to find out that every family has the one person who makes you want to choke the crap out of them. EVERY FAMILY. I am picturing Wally Cleaver strangling the Beaver for all he's worth. It's a sad thing. I am hurt for you that you had to learn that a member of your circle is little better than a thief. That it's a member of your own family is doubly harsh. I wish I could make it better...we love you, sweetie, try to put it behind you, but when she apologizes for the "banks mistake" again, let her know that you know where the mistake was. Tell her you know she's "prevaricating", don't let her get away with it! To be forced to face her dishonesty may be just what she needs.
    hugs and love
    Aunt Sandi and Uncle Wallace

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  13. Kari,I am so sorry to hear you are going thru all of this with your family! My heart really breaks for you since I have experienced my own family woes the last couple of years. Hopefully your cousin will pay you and this too will pass?!?!?! {{{HUS}}}
    ~Des

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  14. it sounds like she is having money issues and doesn't want to say......I hope it doesn't break your relationship up though....the car thing really stinks....I can't believe someone could do that.
    oh. and I gained 3 pounds. yay me

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  15. Oh hope you get it sorted soon

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  16. Ok, you didn't ask sweetie, but you probably knew I'd have an opinion...

    I am with Mary on this one. I think you need to hound your cousin for the $209 bucks. I like the idea of her paying you monthly basis or whatever.

    Don't be disheartened. It is the only bad people that stand out. If the good people affected us the same way, we'd be talking about them!

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  17. Ok, you didn't ask sweetie, but you probably knew I'd have an opinion...

    I am with Mary on this one. I think you need to hound your cousin for the $209 bucks. I like the idea of her paying you monthly basis or whatever.

    Don't be disheartened. It is the only bad people that stand out. If the good people affected us the same way, we'd be talking about them!

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  18. Kari,

    I am so sorry to hear that this is happening to you!

    I hope that things get worked out, with the accidents, and with your cousin.

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  19. There are lots of dishonest people in the world.There are lots of unethical people in the world. But...I also see a whole bunch of GOOD people in the world too.

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  20. I'm so sorry you're going through this unfortunate and uncomfortable situation with your cousin! You are not overreacting - you have every right to call and ask where your money is! You shouldn't be expected to foot the bill for that hotel room! Where is the money that she collected to pay her credit card that was never charged after all? That money should go to you since everyone pitched in with the knowledge they were paying their share of the room. I really hope she steps up and sends you the money by now!

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