Trust, but Verify

About this time, I came down with another case of bad judgment. We needed workers, and two guys drifted in one day looking for work. 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, which was 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 and they were sleeping on the floor over at their apartment in Princeton and could they use the furniture. I said ok 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. He said their car had broken down and could they use the old Oldsmobile we used for a company multi use vehicle. We let different ones use it to go to town for supplies.

I was hesitant but finally said it was all right. Talker came in the next day and said those two back tires are slick. I said go to Thomason Tire and tell Ronnie to put a couple on there for us. The following day, a Friday, they left about three in the afternoon, but as they were leaving the talker rushed in and said what if the police stopped them. They had no title and would I jot down a little note that it was ok for them to take the car to Austin. BIG red flag, but I was real busy and apparently not thinking and 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 just lost an automobile and that is not all.”

I inquired what could be worse. He pointed out my name was on the title at the State 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 of a reality discussion.