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Man cared more about his fence than my son

Original post made by Lonna Corder, San Ramon Valley High School, on Mar 11, 2010

On Valentine's Day around 4:30 I received the phone call every parent fears, my 16 year old son had been in a bike accident. Coming down Highland Dr. he hit a bump and was thrown into a fiberglass fence.

My cell phone rang 8:00 the next morning, it was the man who owns the property damaged by my sons accident. The man wanted to know how I would pay for his damaged fence. Prior to making the call he knew the following: a teenager flew off of his bike and broke three posts on his fence, the boy was seriously injured and airlifted to John Muir and somehow he knew my cell phone number.

What he did not know when he placed the call was whether the boy was alive or, if alive, had brain or spine injuries. We are very lucky. Our son does not have head neck or spine injuries. His bones where badly broken and he was operated on that evening. Though his life has been interrupted, his life will continue.

What the man who had his fence replaced quicker than my son walked again doesn't know is that my son is an excellent student, an honors jazz musician and simply hit a bump in the road.

My husband and I paid the fencing company for the fence, $750 is not going to cause us stress. The poor timing and lack of compassion shown by the property owner did. I hope, in the future, when an older resident of the Town of Danville sees a teenager riding a skateboard or their bike or talking a bit too loud in a store they realize these are the sons or daughters of other Town of Danville residents.

The man who placed the call had no idea what the answer to "How is your son?" would be. He cared only that his property be fixed. How unfortunate someone in our community, the community I was raised in, could be so heartless. I hope our prompt replacement of his fence will teach him that sometimes accidents happen, sometimes they involve good teenage boys who have families and friends and cannot be replaced like his fence.

Comments (43)

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Posted by Hal Bailey
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Dear Dolores,

Tell the story.

We are all neighbors and likely care. But we need to know if any neighbor loses the reality of humanity and caring.

Anger at the initial damage produces strange results, but humanity is always waiting to resolve issues.

Hal


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Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Lonna, I'm an SRVHS parent and I believe I know your son (if he is in the Jazz band and an incredibly talented guitarist). Regardless, as a mom I am so sorry that this happened to your son, but so grateful that he is okay.

I would have done the same: paid for the fence, but marveled at how insensitive the owner of the fence could be. Don't let it get you down - some people don't get it.

All the best for a full recovery for that talented young man of yours!


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Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

Thank God your son will be OK (coming from a mother of two boys (12 and 15) who also like to ride bikes).

People often amaze and disappoint me in the way they handle different situations and I find that it's not worth wasting my energy on them. I would imagine the fence owner is reading these comments and either feeling remorseful or angry. Whichever it is, it's not in your control nor should it bother you any longer. (Portion removed because it referred to a post that was removed)

I wish your son a speedy recovery and a quick return to his everyday activities.


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Posted by r2k4
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 8:35 am

Normally I do not post comments about articles but I was compelled to do so with this one. Being a mother of 4 beautiful children; I cannot believe the lack of compassion by that homeowner referenced or the person who wrote your son should be more careful. Six years ago we were gone on Spring break to return to our home with it damaged. While we were away a young lady who was dui jumped the curb in her car; wrecking into one of trees on our property and causing it to catch fire and caused about $10k in damage to our property. After arriving home and the initial shock of seeing our property and hearing from the police what happened; our FIRST question was how the young lady was doing, NOT who was going to pay for the damage.

It sounds as if what happend with your son was truly an accident and I am glad to hear your son is recovering nicely :-) I am sure your son had ridden his bike hundreds of times down your rode with no incident; just as many kids around town do. Also wether he is a good student or not we as human beings need to show compassion for one another.


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Posted by danvillemama
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 8:44 am

I am also an SRVHS parent who knows your son...we were all saddened to hear of his accident. He is such an incredible person and musician - we hope he is on the mend and will be back to making beautiful music soon. Accidents sometimes happen to the very best people and that is exactly what occurred here. It is unfortunate that this property owner lacks compassion and sensitivity in this matter...shame on him.

As for (Portion removed because it referred to a post that was removed) comments - do not make assumptions that all Danville residents live in fancy homes sipping wine and don't know where their kids are. We put ourselves through college, worked long hours and saved our pennies to live in a modest 3 bedroom home. We drive older cars, don't take fancy vacations, and live within our income. As all parents do, we want the best for our kids and try to raise them with values and ethics...and we teach them not to make assumptions about a community, people, etc. Think about it!


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Posted by beckyjean
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:20 am

I am so sorry to hear about this comment. I am very glad to hear that your son will be fine. The comments by those who say that a 16 year old boy should not be allowed to ride a bike on is own without parental supervision is ridiculous. Riding a bike is a normal, healthy way for a teenager to get around. The behavior of the person who called for his money the next day is uncivilized. He is most certainly not a gentlemen and should be ashamed of his lack of empathy.

(Portion removed because it referred to a post that was removed)
- you are not a nice human being, you truly think it is negligent for a sixteen year old high school student to be riding a bike by himself? Should his Mommy be sitting on a bike for two so nothing bad will ever happen to him? We know that adults NEVER have accidents...
Also, why does it bother (Portion removed because it referred to a post that was removed) so much that some people have nice, big houses? In our society, if you work hard you are rewarded with material things. That is a very good thing. Most of the people I know here that do have the nice houses worked hard, went to college, save their money and now have a better standard of living. I suspect someone who is certain that he didn't have an accident because he was "good at it" not lucky and "ran from cops a lot" is not working to the same standards.

The best of wishes to you and your son. Ignore the nastiness of others, it is not YOUR fault that your son had a bike accident.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jrenee
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

I am so sorry to hear about your son's accident, but am happy to know that he will recover and I am sure learn from this, even if it wasn't his fault. Thank God everyone in this community does not act the way your neighbor does nor respond with the kinds of comments from one of the above. I don't need to mention his name.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bz
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 11:01 am

This is a sad commentary, but I appreciate your sharing it! I'm so happy that your son will be okay! Just let him know that there ARE caring people around here who really do have their hearts in the "right place!"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by local mom
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

Not sure how the details about your son's musical or academic performance have anything to do with your complaint about the homeowner's lack of compassion. Would someone without those abilities be less deserving of compassion? Or was this just a chance to brag about the talents of your kid....like so many Danville parents?


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Posted by Rose
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm

GOOD GRIEF LOCAL MOM!!! Get a grip! What a negative response!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Rose, I couldn't agree with you more.

Local Mom - way to go. Let's kick this mom of an injured boy when she's down, shall we?

I didn't detect anything in her post that suggested she thought her son was more deserving of anything - rather, she makes a point to the residents of Danville to remember when they see a teen on the road to remember they are someone's child - encouraging safety for all our kids, which I really appreciate.

Why the sour grapes?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

There is much positive to be said for living in Danville, from the nice downtown, the gorgeous scenery to the West, a group of residents that tend to be mostly friendly, the good schools and low crime rates. But it can still be a bit of a mixed bag with the snobbery and wallet-clutching that's also part of our little burg.
I feel strongly that those who degrade their communities with a lack of consideration for their fellow human need to be publicly embarrassed. So here's what I suggest Lonna: pass this wanker's name on to as many friends as you can, and let them post it here. Of course, Dolores will scramble to remove it each time lest she be sued for defamation of character (something this individual seems to have accomplished quite well on his own), but if we all keep re-posting it perhaps it will make him think about someone besides himself next time.
BTW, I think this guy has first cousins in my neighborhood. I can count at least three people or couples that this could have been within a block of my house.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by beckyjean
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Local Mom is simply showing a lack of empathy for someone who is in pain. I read the inclusion of positive traits to be a response/reply to the people who deemed her son and other young people to be of less value then a few pieces of plastic. I wonder how big that chip on Local Mom's shoulder is?

Many of the members of our community that make it less pleasant do nothing but rant about the horrible kids and how they are all drug users, losers and useless people. I thought she was making a pre-emptive strike against these persons.

Just a note, for all those who hate the "typical Danville" person, parent, child, etc there are plenty of places you could move to where you wouldn't have to interface with them. I personally like the personality of this town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CDSI Research
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Dear Dolores,

Possibly a reader, as counsel, might explain the realities of this situation. Typically, the individual whose property was damaged would want to establish responsibility for the damage by the bike rider. At issue is the reality that the bike rider was injured on owner's property and such liability could be reversed to the owner. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to encourage such immediate calls to establish liability because time would allow the bike rider's insurance to try to place the liability with the property owner.

Whether property owner cares for the injured bike rider is a separate subject when liability is at stake. So let's redirect your commentators in this exchange to consider liability as the cause of actions.

Hal/CDSI Research


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Let's not and say we did Hal. Does anything get a rise out of you, or are you that computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey?
At issue is the inconsideration of the fence owner, not his insurance company. What, was Lonna going to sue him for placing his fence in an unfortunate location?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by beckyjean
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I agree with Derek.. Hal, even if someone is trying to establish liability, a normal human response would be hello, how are you, how is your son...The worst thing to do in a case where a lawsuit is possible is to get in touch with the other party. When I have been in that situation, the insurance company was ADAMANT that I not contact the other party at all.

When I had a situation which involved someone being hurt on my property the FIRST thing out of my mouth when notified of the situation was is she okay, not how much will this cost me...that was also what my insurance agent asked also...It is not necessary to be rude or inconsiderate to be professional.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Hal, though I adore your level headed self in most cases, this thread belongs to Lonna. Her post was specific to the thoughtless caller that was only concerned about his material property when her son lay in a hospital bed post surgery. If you want to discuss liability as it relates to this issue, I suggest you start your own thread.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just Curious
a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Why is everyone accepting what the mom says at face value? Does it really and truly ring true?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by i told you so.
a resident of Danville
on Mar 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm

this mom is lame. she should be holding her son accountable for making a stupid decision without thinking about the consequences. i would be pissed too if some lame brain teen took his adrenaline seeking thrill ride out on my fence. good thing he is not dead . wake up lady.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Student
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 14, 2010 at 12:48 am

I told you so -
This mom is NOT lame. She's just trying to make the community aware of some of the rude and ignorant people that live in our area.
Yeah, she could hold her son accountable for part of the accident - but, like she said, it was an ACCIDENT. No one plans accidents. I think you should be a little bit more considerate of her and her family, and less ignorant. I'm sure if you were a mom, you would feel the same way.

Plus, fences are replaceable - children aren't.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by i told you so.
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2010 at 1:14 am

so you think she knew exactly where her son was and what he was doing at the time of the accident. most danville moms do not do shit except sit home and spend their husbands money. maybe when you are a little older and see the people who live here in a different light you might voice your opinion a little differently. i mean i see kids riding their bikes all the time here , not obeying traffic laws and doing tricks. which i did when i was a kid here in danville . but the mom is using this forum to publically embarass her neighbor. which is a misuse of community power. why not just write a note or discuss this over coffee. most likely the homeowners insurance will cover the cost anyway. but 10 bucks says this kid does something again, only next time he might not walk away. but i respect your opinion and thank you for voicing it here. peace.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2010 at 9:42 am

There's much more here than meets the eye. How did the fence owner know that a teenager was involved? How did he know who to call?

Further, in our lawsuit-happy society if he had said, "I'm sorry your son was in an accident," the first thing our of mom's mouth could have been, "Yes, and we're suing you for having a fence where our son could ram into it!"

Everyone should look deeper into motivations (on both sides) than is being done so far.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by katie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I told you so: Most moms don't sit home spending their hubbies' money, they are out talking constantly on their cell phones while they drive, setting a very poor example for their kids as to safety and breaking the law to boot.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Human being
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 15, 2010 at 7:09 am

Wow...I am so glad your son is healing. The person who lost his fence might never heal his cold hard heart because, truly, who is going to love someone like that? Maybe that is where his ridiculous obsession with his beloved fence comes in...he needs it to shield himself from the real world full of people and accidents and love. Your family, friends and goodness will surround you....he has his fence.


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Posted by razmatanian
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:41 am

Hate to create a firestorm, but...parents need to understand one tiny little fact...not everybody likes children. They don't care about your children and they aren't interested in a child's feats of every day life which is no source of wonder to complete strangers. Not everyone is wrapped up in having children in the first place and choose not to be involved with children except when it is not possible to avoid them. It is unfortunate that anyone has to have an accident and get hurt. But there is nothing written that a complete stranger must care about anyone at all or that they must feign an interest just to be kind. It is not a cold hearted person who does not like children. It is someone who simply has other interests and does not consider your children of interest. This boy, who was responsible for his own actions, had an accident and caused property damage. The parents cared more about the boy than the fence. That's understandable. The fence-owner cared more about his fence than the boy. That too is understandable. Being outraged that the fence-owner didn't care a whim about someone else's child is ridiculous. Get over the feeling that all people must show allegiance to your child simply because he is a child. It will not be the last time that somebody gives no consideration to your child's welfare. That's why there are parents who ostensibly care. Just don't expect anyone else to feel the same way that you do about your children.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by justw
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 8:59 am

What if the fence breaker were a 45 year old man or woman? Should age or gender make a difference to how people treat each other?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by becky
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:15 am

I see we are running into two sets of comments here. Persons who believe that manners, courtesy are the best way to deal with others and those who don't. You don't have to love children to show the common decency entailed in making a polite phone call...at 8 a.m. for a stupid, damaged fence?
Justw has a good point...would those of you naysayers have felt the same if it had been a 45 year old man or a 75 year old man who had an accident? I already know that their is a group of misogynists who would have loved to have seen it be a woman or girl. What else can I call a person who assumes that all the women in Danville are setting around doing nothing spending their husbands money? Perhaps they are spending their money? Perhaps they are doing necessary work? Why the hate? I see that here a lot and always wonder about the group of people who it really seems to bother that someone, somewhere might have more money then you.

As for the person who questioned why many of us believed the initial report, it does ring true. There have been several comments that exhibit the same level of lack of decency on this board. Look at I told you so, he says that this is fine because he would care more about his fence also. He is entitled to that, but I am also entitled to think that such behavior is reprehensible. I also think that I shouldn't have to support, with my taxes, nasty old men who like their fences to an obsessive degree.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Annie
a resident of Tassajara Hills Elementary School
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

Thank God that your son is well! Whether it was a child or an adult who hit the fence; we are talking about a human life!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just a flatlander
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:40 am

Oh the high and mighty of Highland DR.
Father forgive them all, as they know not what they say. . .
When one knows better, one does better, as should we all
Count your blessings. Forgive and be glad to live!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ron
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:53 am

I am sorry to hear about your son and do hope is doing better and will fully recover from all of his injuries. None of us like to see a young person injured whether they be our children, grandchildren,neighbors or friends.
I have no comment on the person whose fence was damaged, enough has been said, but I do have a comment about your statement "I hope, in the future, when an older resident of the Town of Danville sees a teenager riding a skateboard or their bike or talking a bit too loud in a store they realize these are the sons or daughters of other Town of Danville residents."
It makes me believe that the person who called sounded "older" thereby prompting your comment and exposing your feelings toward the seniors in your area.
You may not have felt the same way if the person sounded like a young man. Or maybe you wouldn't have vented your anger if he sounded young.
I am not taking sides but remember, just because the person was "older", don't let it reflect on all of us "old" people. You are teaching your son a bad lesson. One person's actions whether they are old, black, asian or whatever should never reflect on everyone in the same category.
Remember, the other person may have some problems too. Like illness or recent death in the family. Don't pass judgement, just think about your son.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by nonsence
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 15, 2010 at 10:10 am

So we enlisted parenting expert and Montessori school director, Lonna Corder, to answer your questions this past week! - 0 Comments ...
If you google Lonna Corder - she is an expert


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Grandma
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 10:41 am

I am amazed at some of the "screwed up" people that have made some very insensitive comments here!

People, it makes no difference whose fault the accident was, whose fence was damaged or if you like or dislike children. THIS IS ABOUT COMPASSION!

We should ALL have compassions for those that are injured and their families. THAT IS HUMANE! TO HATE AND NOT CARE ABOUT ANOTHER'S FATE IS INHUMANE!

I wish the boy and his family well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by beckyjean
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

Nicely put, Grandma.
Ron- it doesn't truly matter how old the cranky fence person is, when you behave like a jerk, you will be judged as a jerk. When he needs something himself, I hope his neighbors (who do know who he is) remember his behavior and respond accordingly.

People forget that in order to live in a civilized society, we need each other. Manners exist to keep us from killing each other. Those of us who can get along with out neighbors will find that someone will remind us to shut our garage door and we will put their dog back in their yard if he escapes. Simple matters but it makes life easier. Grumpy fence guy may fall in a hole and hurt himself, I bet he would appreciate it if someone would then help him up. I think someone should. But I also believe that humans need to be human, not flocks of chickens.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lonna
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:03 am

Nonsense,
I am not clear on your comment.
My professional life and my son having hit a bump in a road, being thrown into a fence are not related.
I do not know what "0 comment means".
I've not been asked for my advice reguarding pre school children during this thread.

I do, however want to comment on one very well put point: my having judged the man as an older person. The point is well taken. Thank you for you well stated comment. Very thought provoking and as I see it, a great use of this space.
The woman who found my son, Tracy, the emergency team and San Ramon High have been fantastic.
I thank God everyday



 +   Like this comment
Posted by nonsence
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

Oh Lonna,
I was thinking divergently, as usual- meant to be supportive- -
It's a cut and pasted from google = I should have put it in ""s =
It was only meaning that your are well documented as a parent expert, WORKING professional and NOT one of " all the women in Danville setting around doing nothing spending their husbands money".
I'm sorry!! I'm glad your son is going to be OK.
Just forgive the fenceman and hope he has more in his life than the fence. It seems to me he is needing a hug or some cookies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lonna
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Nonsense,
Thank you. If you know me you know I do not drink wine or have a big house.
My only point in writing this was to point out that accidents happen and I find if a teenage boy is involved assumptions are made.
My greatest desire for our culture is for all of us to care for each others children.
There is one point, however, I would like to make.
I have always been an over protective mother. While the assumption of some during this thread has been that I was at home, no clue where he was, opposite was true.
I often "out" myself for not giving him enough freedom. I do think he took the turn too fast that day as a 16 year old who was not allowed to explore the neighborhood creek, or go under the bridges in the local park. He was especially not allowed to ride his bike without my husband or myself.
I am the mom everyone rolls their eyes and says what will she do when he leaves home?
It is out of my experience of hovering over him that I tell young mommys to let the chair tip.
His friend made it down the hill without any problem. As the middle child of three he has always had more freedom than my son.
What is the balance? When is too much freedom too much? When is protecting our children OVER protection? Even wrapping them in bubble wrap, accidents happen.
Life is so brief and fragile.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by another granny
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm

You got it Lanna,
Life is so brief and fragile.
I'm with Nonsense. Bake your neighbor some cookies, or better yet how about humble pie?? His life is fragile too.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by becky
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I guess I am unsure as to why Granny thinks that Lonna should eat humble pie for this person...what did she do wrong? She took his call, paid for his fence...what does she need to apologize for, living?
If someone gave him homemade cookies, he would probably accuse them of trying to poison him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by another granny
a resident of Alamo
on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

The humble pie or cookies are for the neighbor to eat not Lonna


 +   Like this comment
Posted by becky
a resident of Danville
on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Thank you for clarifying that, Granny..Sorry for the misunderstanding.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Whosaid
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Kindness for a disgruntled neighbor is not an apologize for, living.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Toni
a resident of Blackhawk
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

I was moved by your story and can only hope that we all continue to practice compassion to strengthen this energy during times of adversity and eventually transform the ignorance of the fence owner. I hope your son is doing well and recovering at Godspeed from his injuries.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dylan
a resident of Diablo Vista Middle School
on Apr 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Dear Mrs. Corder,
I am sorry that this happened to your son. I can't believe someone could be so heartless like that. In fact, my father was one of the CHP officers that responded to that crash that afternoon and I remember him coming home with the story and me being heartbroken that someone my age was hurt just riding their bike like I had just done that day. Best of luck!

- Dylan


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