Scott Shaw.com Be Positive

Sorry Doesn’t Mean Much Unless You Make It Mean Something

A lot of people do a lot of hurtful things in this world. In some cases, they are intentional, in other cases they are not. Some people never own the damage and the hurt they create. Others, understand their wrongness and try fix what they have unleashed. “I’m sorry,” is the first step. But, “Sorry,” doesn’t mean much unless you make it mean something.
 
You hear it all the time, people saying, “That person got their karma,” or, “They paid their debt to society.” But, as I have long said, what does that mean to the victim? Does a person getting some sort of karmic retribution or a person getting out of jail after doing their time fix any hurt or pain they caused that someone else? No, it does not. So, I say all those kinds of statements are false and meaningless. If an individual does not consciously and directly attempt to fix anything negative they have done, directly to the individual they have done it to, there should not be and cannot be any karmic redemption and/or forgiveness.
 
I had an interesting (well not really) thing happen to me on Monday. I had hit over to Starbucks to grab a latte, as I usually do each morning. As I was driving out of the parking lot, I hear an interior bang on the front of car. It stops; my car that is. Though the engine was still running, my car would not move. Dead in its tracks. The only problem was, and it was a BIG one, was that my car had died in the middle of the driveway out to the street.
 
To describe this driveway, it is up, then down out to the street, where the street meets an uphill climb. My car had died right at the top of the incline of the driveway. Thus, I got out and tried to push it, forward or back, but because there were hills on both sides, I was completely stuck. Obviously, I was freaking out. It was a really bad situation as people were coming (or at least trying to) in and out of that parking lot and I was totally blocking the exit lane. But, I could do nothing about it.  My car was too heavy for me to push uphill. I was in the middle of a really fucked up situation.
 
To tell the back story, I had to have the trani on my car redone a couple of months ago. I spoke about in a blog awhile back. I knew they had done a bad job, though I had it done at AAMCO which is one of the biggest trani places here in the States. Here was the proof they had done a bad job. But, this proof had really screwed me over.
 
I called AAA but they were not going to arrive for over two hours. What! Are you kidding me! I’ve been paying you money for all of these decades and you promise a thirty minute arrival time but now, for me, it is going to take two hours even though I’m in the middle of this really bad situation! One of the women I spoke to threatened to hang up on me because I was asking why it would take so long in, as she put it, an obviously agitated manner. What! Hang up on me! This is your fault! I am agitated because your people are not going to be here for two hours!
 
Finally, this big burley guy with long white hair and a long white beard pulls up in his truck and offers to help me. THANKS!!! We rock the car back and forth, to get it off of that hill, and I coasted it back over to the side of the driveway, where at least people could get by me. This is why whenever I see a person broken down by the side of the road or trying to push their car out of the way I always get out to help them, because if you’ve ever been in that situation, you know how horrible it can be. For me, this was probably the worst car-break-down situation I’d ever been in and I’ve had my share.
 
So, with the car, more or less, out of the way, I sat there, steaming in my anger for the next two hours until the tow truck showed up. The guy, who told me he was also a mechanic, lifted my car way up, looked at what was going on, and told me the AAMCO I took my car to had lied and they had not replaced at least one of the axles as they had charged me for and that was the problem, an axle had broken. True or false, I didn’t know and didn’t really care. I was pissed and though I hoped to never see the people at that AAMCO again, due to the warranty situation, I had to have it towed back to them.
 
After having encountered a bad experience at that AAMCO, feeling I had really gotten ripped off, I wrote a fairly hardcore, one-star, Yelp review. Though I really hate to write negative reviews, that’s the great thing about Yelp, you can get your factual truth out there and maybe save someone else from going through what you had gone through. The manager of the place had called me after he read that review, a couple of months back. I, of course, never picked up. But now, here he was calling me in apology mode, and telling me to get the car to him and he would fix it. He called me twice as I was waiting the two hours for the tow truck.
 
I went home and later that afternoon I get a call, telling me what the problem was and that it would be fixed ASAP. I thought it was going to take a few weeks like it had the last time I gave them car. So, I went out to get on my motorcycle, to do what I had to do for the day. But, I start to ride off on it and discovered I had a flat. Are you kidding me!
 
Now, as you may or may not know, a flat on a motorcycle is way more complicated than on a car. You can’t just jack a motorcycle up and switch out the tire with the spare, nor can you use that squirt in the tire, fix a flat stuff. You gotta pull the bike apart and get the tire off or pay a few hundred dollars to have it towed to a shop and have it done, which is really the best way to do it as they know how to do it right. So, I was stuck and pissed off. What a day!
 
By Tuesday, however, the manager at the shop was calling me and telling me he would have the car done that afternoon. “Wow, thank you!” “All for free, of course,” he proclaimed and he offered to change the axles and do all the this and that and even give me a free oil change if I wanted one. “No thanks.” I knew what he was after.
 
The thing is, he seemed like a nice enough guy. It was just the policies of the business and, I guess, the mechanics he employed, that messed my life up.

So, at 4:30 I go to pick up the car. They did a lot of work in a really short amount of time. It shows you what they can do if they want to. As he walks me out to my car, he speaks about all he has done and how he hopes to keep all his customers happy and the like. Throughout all of our conversation he continues to mention my Yelp review, and I knew the reason he was going full-on to fix, or better put, re-fix my car, was so that I may rewrite that review. I observed, and I knew, it was all a negotiation. As I was about to leave, “I hope you can do something about the Yelp review,” he says. “I’ll see what I can do,” I answer.
 
After that, some people were telling that I should double down and discuss how not only did they screw me over when fixing my car the first time, and damaging parts on it that I had to have fixed elsewhere, which cost me over a thousand dollars, but that their work is so shabby that my car broke down within two months. There was a part of me that felt I should do that. But, that’s just not who I am. In his own way, the manager of the shop was trying to apologize. But, more than that, he was trying to make things right. I appreciated that. Did it undo what I had to go through on Monday? No, not at all. Did it change the fact that they (the shop) cost me a lot of money and did a crappy job? Absolutely not. But, he was trying. And, isn’t that all you can ask of a person? Me, I went home and I erased the Yelp review.
 
So, just keep this in mind as you go through life. “Sorry,” means nothing if the person saying it does nothing to repair the damage they created.  And, if they (if you) don’t say, “Sorry,” when you have hurt someone, what does that say about the person you are?
 
Forgive when forgiveness is warranted. But, never forgive those who hurt you and just do not care.