Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chapter 107 Trust, but Verify

About this time I came down with another case of bad judgment. One day two guys drifted in  looking for work. We needed workers and they said they would do anything, just give them a chance. I did and they worked pretty well. The one who did most of the talking said the other guy was a preacher and they were starting a new church in Princeton,  about ten miles east of McKinney. After about two months the talker said he noticed a bed and springs with a mattress in the barn. He told me they were sleeping on the floor over at their apartment in Princeton and asked if they could they use the furniture. I agreed and they loaded it up and hauled it off.

After about four months the talker comes in and says the preacher has a kid living in Austin with his ex-wife. The kid was graduating from middle school and his birthday was about the same time. He said the preacher had been crying because he could not get down to Austin to see his kid. He said their car had broken down and could they use the old Oldsmobile we used for a company multi-use vehicle? We let workers use it to go to town for supplies and errands. I was hesitant but finally said it was all right. 

Talker came in the next day and said, "Those two back tires on the Olds are slick." I said, "Go to Thomason Tire and tell Ronnie to put a couple on there for us." The following day, Friday, they left about three in the afternoon. Just as they were leaving the talker rushed in and asked "What if the police stop us?" They had no title-so would I jot down a little note that it was okay for them to take the car to Austin?  BIG red flag, but I was real busy and apparently not thinking so I did as he asked. He rushed out to leave and I rushed into the greenhouse to deal with some problem there.

They were due back late Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday came and I was a little worried. By Friday I knew I had been taken again! I called my buddy who was a deputy sheriff and told him my story. There was a long pause and he said, "You have lost an automobile and that is not all.” I inquired what could be worse. He pointed out my name was on the title and if they ran over someone and killed them I would be libel. I talked to the State, and they said there was nothing I could do but continue to carry liability insurance on the car for years. I carried liability insurance on that car that I did not even have for five years before I chanced to drop coverage. Of course, Charlotte helped me understand I should have told them no when they first asked for a job and of course, as usual, she was right. She never said "I told you so"; it was more a discussion about reality.

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