Rules? What rules?

Last month I got rear-ended. Bummer.

It was a beautiful day, I had my family in the car with the top down; we had just come from signing the papers on our new house and were euphoric at the idea of building our “forever home.” The euphoria prevailed even as we hurried from the builder’s sales office back toward home to get my #1 son ready for baseball practice. As we were short on time, we decided to run through Chick Fil A to grab him some dinner before practice. As I idled next to oncoming traffic in the strip center, waiting to turn left into Chick Fil A, I saw a big pickup turning out of the grocery store parking area to get in line behind me. The driver of the truck must have taken her eyes off the road for a moment, because BAM! she hit me.

After the initial shock passed, we issued a collective groan at the interruption to our idyllic day. Mr #1 son fretted about whether his Chick Fil A was still on the table; fast food is a rarity in our lives, and that boy has a major soft spot for all junk foods. I handed him some cash and he walked across the parking lot to procure his feast while we exchanged information with the lady in the truck.

Her first reaction upon getting out of her truck was to announce that I didn’t have my turn signal on. I shut her down speedy quick: I most certainly did have my turn signal on (which she would know had she not taken her eyes off the road!), and it makes no matter because the person who hits another car from behind is at fault. Period. She piped down after that assertion and switched gears from combative to contrite.

She produced an insurance card and we copied down the details. As she pulled away from the scene of the crime, we took down her license plate number, just in case. While I certainly like to believe the best in people, even total strangers who ram the back of my car in a parking lot, you never know.

The “you never know” part took a starring role in this suburban drama. When I contacted her insurance company, I received the dreaded news: her policy is no longer valid. She’s uninsured.

It gets better: I of course have uninsured motorists coverage on my policy, but there’s a $250 deductible, and it rubbed me the wrong way, big time, to have to pay money to cover someone else’s damage. Add to that the fact that we just bought a house, I mean literally, and the idea of spending money to cover some irresponsible bad driver just made me mad. My insurance agent, who is a rock star, assured me that we would find her and make this right.

You may have heard this about me — I have a whacked-out sense of justice. It irks me to no end when things don’t work the way they should; add to my list of annoyances: irresponsible people who drive around in a big-ass truck without insurance.

Did I mention that my rock-star insurance agent is named Mike Hammer? For real. In 1994 we chose him out of the phone book, way back when phone books were relevant, because of his name. All these years later, we likely could have found a better deal, maybe from that cute little gecko, but Mike has always given us top-notch service and I believe in loyalty (again, whacked-out sense of justice). I’m so glad we never strayed from Mike Hammer, because he put on his private-eye hat and found the lady who hit my car. With no valid insurance policy, her insurance company couldn’t track her down, and her license plate number didn’t come up in the system either. I’m not going to accuse her of having stolen plates, but in addition to letting her insurance lag, she must have let her car registration lag as well.

He called her up and told her that she must have mistakenly given me the wrong policy, because the information she provided is invalid. She assured him that she does indeed have insurance, and when he told her he’d gladly hold on while she went to get the real insurance card, she said she didn’t have it handy. He said no worries, I’ll hang on while you go out to the garage and get the card out of your glovebox. Cue the radio silence.

No need to hold on, Mike, because there is no valid card in the glovebox. Miss Missy in her big-ass truck has no insurance. Did she knowingly provide me with bogus information at the scene? Again, I’d like to believe the best in people, but she’s making it pretty tough.

She assured Mike Hammer that she would call him back with the correct policy information, and he said good deal, that’s a relief because my client sustained some significant damage and needs to get her car fixed.

I know y’all will be shocked to learn that Miss Missy has yet to call Mike Hammer with that information.

I did a little sleuthing myself and found out where Miss Missy lives. I’m sorely tempted to show up on her doorstep and demand restitution, but considering we do have the right to concealed handguns in the Great State of Texas, I’m going to refrain.

Instead, I will go get an estimate on the damage to my car, call Mike Hammer with the amount, and let him call her again to ask when we can expect the cashier’s check for the damage.

Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if everyone followed the rules — the law, in this case — and carried valid auto insurance?

But apparently the rules — and the law — do not apply to Miss Missy, who has no problem driving around whacking other cars in her big-ass truck. Perhaps that’s a good thing, though: she should have plenty of money to pay for my car repair since she’s not spending one penny on car insurance or registration.