What do we do when we have damaged property?


Today I was at the grocery store. Normally I am very careful with my door and carts not to bump other cars. However, today as I was unloading my cart into my car, my grocery cart got away from me and bumped into what looked like a brand-new truck. I rubbed the scratch to make sure it wasn’t just a mark that would rub off but it stayed. I waited for a couple minutes for the person that owned the truck to come out but they never did so I left. I am afraid to leave a note with my information because I do not want them claiming I did some other damage that I did not do and I did not have a camera phone or anything to take a picture. I thought about leaving a note with some cash for some touch-up paint but I didn’t have an envelope to put anything like that in. My questions I guess are this:

*]What should we do when something like this occurs?
*]Is it considered a grave sin to leave and not make reparation for the damage?[/LIST]Thank you for your help!


Unless the damage was severe, the matter probably is no more than venial. Also, culpability may be mitigated since you were not trying to avoid responsibility but apparently were unsure of how to properly take responsibility. That said, you may want to mention it the next time you go to confession and let the priest assess your culpability.

As for how to handle the situation in the future, one way to do so might be to take down the identifying information of the car (e.g., make, model, color, license number), go into the store, and ask a manager to send out an in-store page for the owner of the car to come to the customer service desk. Also, since grocery stores sometimes sell disposable cameras, you could ask the manager if the store sells one that you could buy to take pictures of the damage.

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