Amazing Golf Shot

I wanted to share a story that happened to me last Saturday afternoon, while playing a round of golf at a local course.

It was Saturday and I was at the local Jeep dealership getting the oil changed for my sons’ car.  They were both working that morning, so I thought I’d take care of this for them.  As I waited, I received a call from a friend asking if I wanted to play golf that day.   I told him that I was busy and asked for a rain check. After the oil change was finished though I decided to call my friend to see what hole he was on and to see if there was any chance that I could still join him.  He told me he was just finishing the 8th hole.  I suggested that we meet on the 10th and then play the back nine together.  Racing over to the course, I arrived just in time to catch up with him and his neighbor and to tee off on the 10th hole.

The course (no pun intended) of my day was changing unexpectedly, and it was going to change again soon.

We proceeded to play swiftly until we reached the 16th hole.  Now, the 16th hole of this particular golf course runs parallel to a street that leads through our town—it’s not what I would call a busy street, but there is a minor flow of traffic throughout the day. My friends teed off and hit shots onto the fairway.  I, unfortunately, hit my first shot out of bounds a few hundred yards to the right.  My view of the shot was blocked because this part of the golf course is lined with rather large trees from tee to green.

As I walked down the fairway thinking about this poor shot, I could hear someone yelling at my friends and I saw them gesturing back and soon a shouting match broke out.  I proceeded to jog down the fairway to an opening in the trees and saw a young man holding a golf ball and screaming. “You hit my freaking (I’m being polite) car,” he yelled.

My errant shot had hit squarely in the middle of his windshield, shattering it completely. He looked at me and questioned, “Is this your ball?” I answered simply “Yes.”  The young man was livid, and his swearing and yelling were reaching a fevered pitch.  I was told that I had hit his father’s car. I was told that the windshield would to be very expensive. I was told that I was at fault.

I looked around the crazy scene and for some reason calmness came over me. I saw that the windshield was in a million pieces. I saw the young man screaming at me.  I saw my errant golf ball in his hand.  I saw cars passing. I saw mothers walking their babies in strollers happily down the street.  I saw joggers passing by on the side walk.  At that moment, all I could think was how had this young man been able keep control of his car?  How had he not driven up the curb?  How had he not hit a tree or a telephone pole or a jogger or a mother and child?

 I asked, “Is everyone alright?” He looked at me, stunned.  This was clearly not the reaction he had expected.  He tried to muster up some more anger but he stopped. He said, “Yes…sir, everyone is fine.”  To that I pulled out my cell phone, asked him to call my number, and had him watch me answer my phone to confirm that the number he now had belonged to me. I assured him that if I was at fault, I would take care of the damages. I told him how extremely grateful I was that he was not hurt, that no one was hurt.  I even suggested that he call the police and meet me in the Club House in 20 minutes to figure out the matter.

With that, the young man’s eyes filled with tears. He began to apologize profusely for his behavior.  I assured him that I understood his immediate reaction completely and, again, I let him know that if I was at fault I would take care of the damages. As we made our way to the Club House my friends looked at me in amazement. My buddy said he had never in his life seen some one take such a negative situation and turn it completely around so quickly.

The story gets better.

 We met at the Club House and I bought the young man a Coke. I asked him where he was from and what he did for a living.  Ironically enough he said he was in the business of wholesaling cars, and I mentioned to him that I just happened to be in the market for a car for my daughter.  He replied “I will find the one, don’t you worry.”  As we left, the young man told me he would call me on Monday to tell me what the replacement cost of the windshield would be.

As he promised, I received a call late Monday morning.  The cost would be a staggering $2,200. I knew it would be expensive but never dreamt it could be that high. I called a friend who owns a Lexus dealership who verified the cost. I called the young man back and told him to go ahead and replace the windshield and that I would write him a check.

Later that afternoon, the young man called me back. He and his father had talked about the incident in depth. They decided together there was no way they were going to make me pay $2,200 for the windshield. They would replace their custom glass with a standard windshield, which was $900. The young man told me that my honestly and integrity had impressed him and his father so much that they felt it was a blessing to have met me.

A few days later, the young man came to my house to pick up the check. I reiterated to him that at the time of the incident my only concern was that no one was hurt and how grateful I was that that was the case.  He, in turn, looked at me and again said what a blessing it was that we had met.

As he walked out my front door my wife handed him a list of cars my daughter had put together that met her price and mileage ranges.  He said, “Be patient, I am going to find you guys the best deal you can ever imagine!”  The truth, however, is that I already had the best deal I could ever imagine.  A bad situation that could have been much, much worse turned into a sincere new connection with a complete stranger and a renewed appreciation for the incredibly good fortune I’ve had.   

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