On Common Sense & Luxury Cars

Who deserves to own a Mercedes Benz?

Mercedes Benz
Photo by Roland Denes on Unsplash

In the beautiful nation of Venezuela -where I’m from- the majority of people live in poverty. They may not have a high school education. They may live in a shack with ten other family members and have no means of transport other than their own two legs and wholly unreliable public transport.

The tiny rich and middle-class minorities may live in apartments and mansions, go to the beach on weekends or ski in the Swiss Alps in winter. A few may have PhDs from Yale and own various expensive bullet-proof cars.

All, however, would laugh heartily at this theft report I came across in a newspaper in CT, where I now live:

Newspaper clippingDivided as the people may be in my country of birth, we’d be united in finding, instantly, the same layers of foolishness and first-worldliness in this report.

Above all, we’d all be united in seeing the humor in it. In fact, my first thought when I read this was, “This must be a joke.” Which is sad, really.

All Venezuelans know that:

    1. You don’t leave any vehicle -whether it has one, two, four or sixteen wheels- unlocked and unattended.
    2. You NEVER -I repeat, NEVERleave the keys inside a vehicle, much less an unlocked one. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 1994 Toyota Corolla or the latest Mercedes Benz.

If, for some reason (can’t find any plausible one though), something like this happened to a Venezuelan, he or she would embellish the story or make one up. Maybe someone stole the keys from you at gun point. Perhaps that person who bumped into you took them from your pocket and you didn’t notice. Your purse had a hole in it and the keys fell out.

Even that you wanted the car stolen because you needed the insurance money to pay a debt would be a plausible story to most Venezuelans.

Report the truth and you’d lose all credibility. People would start to treat you -perhaps even your entire family- differently. And the worst part: no one would ever again trust you with their business or hard-earned money.

Which would be awful, because you probably make the money to buy such a Mercedes by managing other people’s money or business. People may, with good reason, conclude, “If he’s so careless with his own stuff, how diligent can he be with mine?”

I know that things in CT are very different from Venezuela, and that people need not be nearly as paranoid. Crime, for instance, is not a constant worry for most people here. But, how about a little common sense? How about appreciating what you have a bit more?

Don’t get me wrong. I am a grateful immigrant. I love my adopted country more than I can express. But I was hugely disheartened by this last sentence in the police report:

“Police are urging drivers to take their keys with them and lock their cars.”

What kind of person needs this type of reminder, in bold font?

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