Do you believe in karma — that what goes around comes around? Well, today I want to talk about a little something I like to call “money karma.” Let me tell you what this made-up word means and then you can decide whether you’re a believer in this hocus pocus nonsense, too.
When Johnny and I moved from New York City, we loaded everything into a Budget rental truck, parked it on Third Avenue on the Upper East Side and spent the night at a nearby friend’s house. The next morning, we woke up at the awful hour of 4:00 a.m., trying to avoid any and all city traffic. But before we could bid adieu to our beloved city, we had to swing by our old apartment one final time to grab a few items and leave our keys. As Johnny pulled up to double-park the moving truck in the street while we quickly ran into our apartment, an impatient cab pulled up behind us and started honking. Because NYC is NYC, even at 4 a.m. So Johnny decided to pull up to an empty spot in front of a fire hydrant.
That’s when we heard a “crrrrrrruuunnnnchhhh” and a “crreeeeeeeeakk” sound from somewhere behind us. When you’re driving a ginormous truck, those are the worst possible sounds to hear. Someone swore (Johnny). And then we both got out of the truck to assess the damage. The metal bumper of our moving truck had completely ripped off the bumper of some poor stranger’s van. The sickest feeling took root in the pit of our stomachs. We’d just caused thousands of dollars in damage to someone’s car. We were just a few months away from paying off our student loan debt, and this would probably set us back a year. And of course, to save a little money, we’d foregone any insurance on the moving van. Perfect.
“So what should we do?” one of us asked. Well… hmm… It was 4 in the freaking morning. And not a soul was in sight. Well, there were two very drunk girls sitting on the front stoop of our building. But they were too busy drunk-crying/laughing/puking to notice what had happened. And this was New York City. People who park their cars on the side of the street in NYC are basically asking for this kind of thing to happen. And most car insurance policies cover this sort of thing. It could be our little secret. None of this was said out loud, but let’s face it, it crossed both of our minds. “Let’s put a note on the van with our name and phone number,” I said. Johnny went back to the truck cabin to grab a pen. The sick feeling in our stomach grew even sicker.
the van with our note attached
We then grabbed what we needed from our apartment and drove to Boston, neither of us speaking a word for two full hours. At about 7:00 a.m., we got a phone call from the owner of the van we’d Hulk-smashed with our 16′-metal tank. Rather than being angry, he was mostly surprised and grateful we’d bothered to leave a note. Maybe he’d let bygones be destroyed bumpers and tell us not to worry about it? Funny joke. We exchanged info with him, and that was that.
When we arrived in Boston, Johnny called Budget and submitted a claim. And then we waited for the verdict. How much would this set us back? A week or so later, Budget called Johnny to get some additional information. After Johnny confirmed some specifics of the accident, the Budget employee said, “All right, that’s all I need.” “When will I know how much this is all going to cost?” Johnny asked. “Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. We’ll take it from here.” “What?” “Well, in New York State, we’re required by law to be the primary insurer. So you don’t owe anything.” “I don’t owe anything? At all?” “Nope.”
Whoa. WHOA. Let me tell you, that was a good day. Johnny and I had smiles plastered to our faces for hours. And without missing a beat, we finished paying down our debt the following month, right on schedule.
And that is what I call money karma. I know it doesn’t always work out that way. But I do believe that when you’re trying to do what’s right with your money, sometimes magical things happen.
What about you? Do you believe in money karma? Have you had any money karma moments of your own?