Reputation is a everything. Being trusted and thought to be a person of integrity is valuable to me. For the most part, I have a good reputation and enjoy being a ‘good girl.’
One night, however, when employed with the ambulance, we transferred a patient to an emergency room with a parking lane that dipped low to the door and had ramps on both sides of the dip.
After settling the patient in the emergency room, I told my partner I would move the ambulance. There was a car on the up ramp in front of my ambulance, so I decided to back up the ramp. My mirrors were not adjusted properly and, instead of looking to make sure the ramp was clear – like a good driver should do- I put the ambulance in reverse, gunned the gas pedal, and CRASH!!
Oops! I hit a police car with a policeman sitting in the passenger seat. The crash damaged my bumper and rear panel and cracked his windshield across the lower part of the glass.
He looked at me like, “really?”
I leaned in the driver’s window and asked, ‘What are my chances of us pretending this never happened?.’ with my ‘Please feel sorry for me and forgive me’ look.
He thought about it for a moment, shrugged his shoulders, and said, ‘Pretty good.’
He and I both knew the city would repair the vehicles and we didn’t want to fill out any paperwork.
I didn’t want to be in trouble or jeopardize my job or, to be honest, take responsibility for my actions, so I backed the truck into the designated parking spot to hide the damage to the rear panel. I did this in hope that the oncoming crew would not see the damage when they completed their beginning of the shift inspection of the ambulance. And, just as I planned, they didn’t notice the damage.
When the day crew responded to an emergency, they drove to the house called to as usual, parked the ambulance, and evaluated the patient. When they came out for the stretcher to transfer the patient, they noticed the damage. They assumed someone hit the ambulance while they were inside the patient’s home. It never occurred to them to think I had anything to do with the damage. As I listened to them tell the story, I never said a word.
Over the years I think about that time sometimes. I may have ‘gotten away’ with what happened that night and the ambulance was repaired as I am certain so was the police car and no one was hurt. My reputation protected me from accusation, but if I had that day to do over, I would have owned up to my mistake and my reputation of being an honest and trustworthy person. I’d like to think I don’t have events to hide any longer and am true to my reputation.
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