Unfortunately, there will be times when someone seeing an opportunity to make a quick buck will try to take advantage of us. Most people are known to willingly hand over cash rather than report the incident to the police or their insurance companies (risking an increase in premium). The woman who was so nasty to you was most likely upset that she missed the opportunity for a payout.
A nearly forgotten incident from many years back came to mind as I read your letter. One windy, fall day as I was walking down a street on the outskirts of a Jewish community, an elderly Yiddish speaking man approached me and handed me a note he asked me to translate for him. He said he’d found it on his car but couldn’t decipher it. He explained that he had just returned from a short trip to a store a block away and discovered that another driver had apparently swerved into his parked car in the interim, causing heavy damage.
I was happy to oblige – until I read the obscenity. Trying my best to appear unflustered, I said the note had nothing to do with the incident and must have simply been carried to his car by the wind or placed there by some kids. I couldn’t see further agitating the poor man who was out of luck, the perpetrator having probably made a show of leaving the note to impress some eyewitness bystander.
Can’t argue with your change in attitude, but the long of it is that all things are meant to be and better to have aggravation over a car than chas v’sholom something innately more dear to us.