The White Toyota

Several weeks ago I was driving on Interstate 94 toward downtown Milwaukee. It was a dark, gloomy day, and the roads were a bit slick from a slight mist in the air.

Traffic was stop-and-go for a while, then suddenly we picked up and were driving at freeway speed.

Then…just like that…things came to a grinding halt. The car in front of me stopped, and I gently pressed my brakes and stopped a few feet behind him.

That’s when I heard the tires squeal and felt the impact of the car behind me. I quickly looked in my rearview mirror to see a white Toyota kissing my bumper.

Because we were on the freeway, we both quickly drove our cars to an offramp and pulled off to the side of the road.

Immediately, the driver from the white Toyota got out of her car and approached me. I didn’t know what to expect, so I started with something simple: “Are you okay?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” she answered in a frustrated tone. “That was completely my fault. I’m late for a meeting, and I was looking at my phone, and I just didn’t stop in time.”

I was speechless. I didn’t expect her to be this honest. We quickly exchanged names and insurance information and waited for the police.

When the officer arrived, he questioned us separately. What would she tell him? Would she keep the same story? Would things have changed in the few minutes we sat on the side of the road?

When the officer approached me, he looked over my license and insurance, and said one simple thing:

“She told me it was all her fault.”

After we sorted through all of the details of the accident, I asked the woman why she said what she said. “Most people would have just kept their mouths shut to see what they could get away with.”

She just smiled. “But I did it. I was wrong. I made a mistake and I wanted to own up to it. No matter what it may cost me.”

Then I smiled. “That’s integrity,” I said. “I admire that.”

Since that moment, I think about the driver of the white Toyota every time I have to make an important decision or share information, especially when it comes to living a life of faith. Is what I’m doing reflecting my integrity? No matter the cost?

Integrity.

Do things right.

And do the right thing.

 

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