Joey recently got his learner's permit. He got it on a Friday and had his first driving lesson on Monday.
When his lesson was complete, he drove under my supervision for the first time as we headed back to his school. On the way, he was delighting me with tales of his driving prowess. Apparently, he had "killed it" on the freeway and changing lanes and in intersections. Parking, however, needed some improvement according to both him and his instructor.
While showing the proper enthusiasm for his new skills, I gently reminded him that arrogance was not a virtue and that pride usually comes before a fall, or in this case a crash.
Lo and behold, on the drive to Paraclete High School he did an excellent job using his turn signals, making complete stops and following the speed laws. He pulled into the parking lot and I assumed he was going to pull up and we would exchange seats, but he instead decided to sharpen his parking skills.
I assessed the situation and saw he was heading into a nice open space of three parking spots in a row, so all seemed well. Until, that is, he attempted to back up in order to fit more neatly inside the lines.
Still, I was not particularly worried, as we have a backup camera in the van. He put it in reverse, backed out slowly enough, but somehow did not stop as soon as he should have. I was watching the camera thinking he might be getting a little close to the car behind us but as I opened my mouth to say, "stop!" he bumped the car in the row behind us.
Thank goodness, the damage to the other car was minimal. A relatively small dent on the bumper and no obvious paint damage. It looks like it may be able to be popped out without a trace, but we are waiting to hear for sure. My car has a little more damage...we lost a reflector light and my hatch won't currently open. Still, no one was hurt, it was not enough damage to be required to report and, really, everything was fine. My relief, however, was short-lived.
At Paraclete the teachers and staff all have their names on their parking spots, so with a sinking heart I walked to read the name on the curb, although I already knew who it was. That's right, out of the dozens and dozens of cars parked in front of Paraclete High School, Joey ran into the principal's car.
As realization dawned, he scooted off to class, mortified, and I entered the principal's office with my virtual tail between my legs. (By the way, I gave him permission to leave to calm down, and he spoke with the principal himself shortly thereafter.)
Not surprisingly, the principal was very kind about the whole incident and didn't even tell me that his car was BRAND NEW. Of course we will take care of the damage and, in the sense that Joey will certainly be sharper about backing up in the future, it is likely nothing but a blessing that it happened as it did. Of course, it is possible that our principal does not yet see it that way.
In the meantime, Joey's teachers have taken to calling him "Crash", and he has an excellent story to laugh about with his children some day. Some of us in the family (not admitting to anything here) may already be laughing.