Hit and runs are one of true scourges of driving. If your car has ever been struck by a wayward motorist who chose to flee the scene rather than face the consequences, you know how much of an aggravation it is. Not only will it set you back hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars, which sucks all on its own, it’s also particularly galling because the guilty party gets to avoid any consequences for their behavior. A hit and run is the kind of experience that will make anyone believe in karma, because we all need something to hang onto.
But this time, a would-be hit and runner got served a healthy dose of cosmic justice–and it’s all thanks to a sixth grader.
Andrew Sipowicz is a pitcher for the Canisius University baseball team in Buffalo, New York. (He goes by “Andrew” to avoid people confusing him with Andy Sipowicz, the NYPD Blue character.) On a Monday night earlier this month, he left his apartment and went out to his car, where he found an unwelcome surprise–his 2012 red Maserati had been struck in a hit and run, leaving a nasty dent.
“I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding,'” the 21-year-old told Buzzfeed News. “I was kind of in a panic.”
Andrew was beginning to realize that he was on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs, until he saw a note–but not from the driver responsible. From a middle schooler. Apparently, a school bus had hit Andrew’s car, and when the driver bailed, one of the students onboard decided to return to the scene and do the right thing.
The anonymous sixth grader tipped Andrew off to what really happened, indicating which school bus was involved, Bus #449, and the time of day, 5pm.
Then, she gave a detailed description of how it all happened, explaining that the driver had been trying to make a tight turn past Andrew’s car, but misjudged the angle and dented it before leaving. She even apologized on the driver’s behalf.
The note was signed “a 6th grader at Houghton Academy.” Alongside the signature was a rendition of the school bus so Andrew could identify it–complete with screaming school kids inside.
He then used the note to track down the company that operates the Bus #449, First Student. The company has begun an insurance process to cover all the damages.
“The actions of our former driver are completely contrary to First Student’s training and what we stand for as a company,” the company said in a statement. “We have initiated the process to terminate the driver.”
First Student also gave the student a shout out: “We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that we are very impressed by this exceptional sixth grader,” First Student said.
Andrew was impressed by the sixth grader’s actions, too. A teacher has since identified the student by her handwriting, and Andrew plans to visit her school and bring her a gift.
But he’s not all that surprised that she stepped up. A Buffalo native, Andrew believes that his hometown lives up to its reputation as “The City of Good Neighbors.”
“I mean, it stinks what happened,” he told Buffalo News. “But I’m just extremely grateful for this kid telling the truth.”
But the reason we know about this story is because Andrew Tweeted about it, and his Tweet went massively viral, racking up over a million likes. As you might expect, people had a lot of opinions. (i.e. jokes and memes.)
Most people were impressed.
One guy had some career advice for the sixth grader.
Another spotted a conspiracy! (There was no conspiracy.)
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: if you hit another car while driving, do the right thing and leave a note. You never know who might be watching.