DEAR ABBY: "Hand-ed a Challenge" (Oct. 28) was visiting her friend "Rosemary" when one of "Hand-ed's" sons accidentally slammed a car door on Rosemary's hand, breaking two fingers. Rosemary, a massage therapist, asked to be reimbursed for lost wages because of the mishap -- and you agreed.
Abby, I find Rosemary's request absurd. Kids play. Accidents happen, and people think they deserve cash for it. Sending the boy to help Rosemary with chores would have been a given, but not after she demanded money.
"Hand-ed" should tell her "friend" that asking for money to save a friendship is extortion. I cannot imagine one single friend of mine who would not accept the injury with a certain amount of grace. "Hand-ed" needs to find more laid-back friends. -- WINDY IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR WINDY: Thank you for offering a different perspective. While I received varied responses from readers, most agreed with me that "Hand-ed" is responsible for the damage her sons had caused. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Hand-ed" was on target. As a teacher for many years, I know the difference between what is ordinary mischief and what is a more serious matter. Anyone old enough to think of hiding behind a car door and opening it from the outside is old enough to know better. As long as his parents fail to recognize this, continue to make excuses for him and allow him to avoid the consequences of his behavior, he'll continue to misbehave and will not be welcome in anyone's home. -- ANNE IN TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: If "Hand-ed" and her husband have homeowner's or renter's insurance, their child is insured under the policy. "Hand-ed" should inform her insurance company of the accident and ask the company to pay for these damages. Having the carrier indemnify the insured for this type of unforeseen accident is the reason for paying an insurance premium. -- AN ATTORNEY IN RUTLAND, VT.
DEAR ABBY: As parents, we are responsible not only for our own actions, but also the actions of our children, who are rarely wise enough to predict the outcome of their poor judgments. A true friend would have made certain all aspects of the results stemming from the "unfortunate accident" were completely covered before ending the visit. This would include assisting with errands or household chores, monetary reimbursement for medical charges incurred and lost wages, so the injured person would not lose sleep over the pain or worry about how to approach requesting assistance. -- JUDY IN COAL VALLEY, ILL.
DEAR ABBY: I empathize with "Hand-ed" when she said "accidents happen," but to say the accident could have happened whether her boys were there or not is a cop-out. I taught my sons to be mindful of other people's property. The fact that they got so close to Rosemary's car as to open the door shows a lack of respect for her property.
I had a friend who was a massage therapist. Her hands were her livelihood. Not only does Rosemary have to wait for her fingers to heal, it will take time for her fingers to regain all their strength. I hope "Hand-ed" sees the error of her ways and will try to make amends with her friend. -- RUTH IN CALIFORNIA
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)