And now I feel like a jerk

Just spoke to the mother of the boy who allegedly accidentally broke my rear windshield. I can’t keep all these kids running around straight and figure which belongs to whom, so just today I’ve finally been shown a photo of her son to see who’s standing accused here. I recognize that boy. He’s actually a pretty nice kid. Not the older one I had in mind and assumed was responsible (that one being the one I caught with his friends spray painting our garbage dumpster). Didn’t know if both of those kids were hers since they look similar, but no, only the younger one is hers, and he’s just 12 years old. Ugh. Actually liked that kid a decent amount and probably wouldn’t have gotten as upset had I realized it was him that everybody was pointing the finger at. The older kid in question is defiant and cruising to wind up in juvenile detention, but not this younger one. I can understand now that it was surely an accident of a young boy who didn’t realize the consequences of his actions.

But, I contacted my landlord yesterday before this conversation had occurred and the ball was already set in motion. The mother received a termination notice instructing her to vacate the premises within 3 days, citing multiple disturbances over time (including noise complaints from other tenants). She showed me the paperwork this afternoon. Ugh. And she had a different demeanor about her today as well, realizing the severity of the situation, saying she had  intended to compensate me (or have her son’s “worker” do so, whatever that means — she stated they receive financial aid from an organization that is separate from and not affiliated with section 8). But I wish she had simply explained that yesterday when I delivered the invoice receipt to her for my damages instead of closing the door on me. I was under the impression that I would not be compensated and so decided to report the incident with our landlord. Other tenants filed complaints to the landlord as well pertaining to this incident and others since they have warned several kids on numerous occasions to stop tossing around rocks in the parking lot. So, the landlord decided to evict her outright as a result.

I told her that when it comes to section 8 at least (being unfamiliar with the organization she’s specifically linked up with), their terms and conditions for renting differ from those of us not receiving aid from such programs. In other words, the rental agreements for those tenants are more strict and evictions tend to be more swift when they are carried out. Not sure why, just something I’ve observed over time.

She began crying a little, asking where she’s supposed to go within 3 days, saying she can’t even get into a shelter in that amount of time. Dammit. And this is why I so rarely report incidents to my landlord or to police or what have you. Makes me nervous to involve the Law where it’s not totally warranted. But in this case I figured I would not be compensated and was hoping she’d at least receive a warning so that she’d tighten the reins on her kid and prevent future property damage from occurring. But there were already complaints filed against her, so the property manager was able to take it to the next step. Didn’t expect it to go quite this far, but here we now are. The mother had on a uniform for a fast-food restaurant and said she’s only making $8.50/hr. at present. Mentioned being in some sort of treatment program and receiving SSI (social security) benefits, meaning she’s classified as at least partially disabled at this time. Not sure what the treatment relates to and didn’t ask.

Ugh. Dammit. I didn’t mean for a family to be tossed out on the streets with nowhere to go. Just was pissed about having to fork out over $300 (part of which was provided by a friend to help me out with these costs) for unforeseen property damages. I really wish she had told me upfront that she would reimburse me instead of arguing over her kid’s innocence since that said to me that I’m going to have to foot this bill without compensation. And that frankly felt frustrating as hell. I do get tired of parents taking up for their kids as though they’re all angels who do no wrong, despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary, accidental or otherwise. Didn’t want to go ’round and ’round with her over this matter, and small claims court was out of the question for this small of a sum (and likely wouldn’t have proven fruitful anyway since they likely can’t garnish wages for earners making under a certain amount).

Not sure what to do now. She said she and her “worker” (I assume she’s referring to a case worker there) and their lawyer will be speaking to our property manager tomorrow, and I told her to let them know that I am fine with her remaining as a tenant so long as we can work out a reimbursement schedule and stick to it. She seemed to want me to call them back, but there’s not much I can say to them. Nor do I really wish to when I’m not yet convinced I actually will be fully reimbursed. This is a tough spot for all involved. I’d like to be a bleeding heart and absorb the costs and tell her it’s all good and for her and her son to go forth and prosper, but life has taught me not to be a sucker who caves when the waterworks turn on or when empty promises are spoken. Been lied to before in the past over being compensated for property damage and always had to foot the bill myself. Always. Trying hard to recall a time (at least where insurance companies weren’t involved on both sides) when I was repaid for damages…can’t think of any.

But, then again, I do feel the punishment meted out in this case is severe. I can’t imagine being evicted and having only 3 days to relocate elsewhere, especially with a kid in tow.

Dammit. It’s no fun being the bad guy most days. Had I realized which kid it was they were all talking about I might’ve been more interested in pursuing the matter informally. But again, I wish she had straight up accepted her son’s responsibility instead of demanding proof that I can’t provide to her. We don’t have video cameras mounted in our parking lot, so we must rely on eye witnesses to tell us what goes on there. She wanted a police report, but the cops took too long, and even there it still would’ve been a he said/she said ordeal just as she’s claiming it is currently.

The lady across the hall (an old bitch with nothing but time on her hands to sit in the yard and watch all of our comings and goings and then to gossip about them) factors into this in a few ways as well since she claims the boy came to her asking whose car his rock accidentally hit. And she also claimed a different timeline for the incident. Plus, I watched her try to get vicious right off the bat toward the mother and boyfriend shortly after I confronted them about the matter. Also just learned about some of the crap she was spewing to them about the time I was leaving Saturday night. She too registered a complaint with the landlord (as she does all the time about everybody) and supposedly has something against the boy. Was she lying outright about what she claimed occurred? I don’t know. So I placed more weight on what the other neighbors said instead.

Ugh…  What was I supposed to do? Just pony up money for repairs and keep my mouth shut and not let our landlord know about the incident? Was I supposed to trust a perfect stranger would come through despite her not declaring she even would? Should I have waited longer before calling in the report? I so rarely call the landlord for anything because I prefer them not to be up in my business either. I just don’t know how I should’ve better handled the situation. I was trying to look out for my own interests since I figured they’d otherwise wind up disregarded. But I wasn’t aiming to render people homeless over the ordeal.

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