Open letter to Mr. Kobus

Dear Mr. Kobus,

I have no idea if that’s your name, but it is your license plate. I’m the guy whose van you were parked behind at the Burlington GO Station tonight.

We arrived at the GO Station around 9:00am, and pulled through an empty spot into another spot, so that I could simply pull forward to leave rather than backing out. When I left my van, there was nobody parked behind me. When we returned around 9:45pm, we could see before we even got to our van that yours was right behind ours, parked very close. The front of your van was definitely over the yellow line marking the edge of the parking spot. When we looked closer, we could see that it wasn’t just very close, the front of your van was touching the back of mine. My phone’s battery was too low to take a flash picture and so this one is fairly dark, but it shows pretty clearly that the two vehicles were touching:


After taking this picture (and one of your rear license plate), I pulled forward to see if there was any damage, and saw a deep scratch near where the vehicles were touching. This is about when you arrived. You looked at the scratch and asserted “That’s definitely an old scratch”, but I saw no evidence to support this.

However I also saw no evidence that your van did cause the scratch. I did not see any damage to the front of your van. The front bumper of your van is plastic with an indent for the license plate, and it did not appear that the plastic could have caused the scratch. It also did not appear that the licence plate was sticking out from the indent far enough to have caused it. However if the bumpers were squashed a little (not unlikely), the screw holding the license plate on could have caused it, since it was at about the right height and would have been sticking out the furthest of any part of the plate. I found no red paint on your license plate or the screw. I also cannot confirm that the scratch wasn’t there when we parked that morning; it might have been. I don’t remember seeing it before, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

So in a nutshell, I cannot say with any certainty that your van definitely caused any damage to mine, so no harm done, I suppose. Please be a little more careful when parking in the future.

However, you should at least accept the possibility that you actually did park that close to my van. Simply saying “But we didn’t park that close” does not qualify as proof that it wasn’t your fault. Not accepting that possibility led you to an implausible alternative theory of what happened – that someone must have pushed your van into mine. “But I don’t see how”, you said, “the doors were locked.” You even went around to the back of your van to check for evidence that someone pushed it forwards. You didn’t attempt to determine if this is what actually happened, whether it was even possible, or why someone would do this; you skipped directly to “how did they do it?”.

Are you really trying to claim that someone broke into your locked van and hot-wired it (something that’s exceedingly difficult to do on modern-day cars and vans) only to drive it forward a few inches so it was pushing on my van’s bumper, then locked the van again and left? Or that someone used their vehicle to push yours into mine and did this without leaving any damage to the back of your van or any skid tracks on the ground?

Yes, it’s possible that someone pushed your van forward into ours for no obvious reason and without leaving any trace. It’s also possible that Martians moved it forward with a tractor beam. Or maybe you just parked too far forward and didn’t realize it. Which of those three is the most likely, do you think?

Graeme Perrow


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