Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A power outage on bankruptcy day

After going through extreme hardship in 2000, I had no choice but to file for bankruptcy in 2002. Everything possible went wrong in that span of time; it was a personal delayed Y2K response. A few years before, I was fired on my birthday because my brother decided to steal my car, drove drunk, wrecked the suspension after hitting a curb, and got a DUI. Every moment seemed to reflect incidents like that one - rare and unfortunate events. A power outage saved me from on bankruptcy day.

Was I being tested? How would I manage to handle 5 college courses, a recent eviction, be unemployed, have a car repossessed, and not have a place to live? Bankruptcy was not only an option, it was the only wise thing to do at that point in time. I always paid my bills on time and had great credit. I planned to purchase a home, seek a film career, and acquire a few college degrees. People can never plan for the future, they only hope for the best outcome.

On bankruptcy day, I was really pressed for time. I knew that I had to make it there on time or face paying another large fee for rescheduling the bankruptcy hearing. I pulled up to the front of the courthouse in downtown San Jose. It was still early. Good thing I made it on time. An elderly lady walked up and claimed that she had missed the bus and needed a ride to meet her son at Bay 101 - a Casino off of H-101 in San Jose.

I give the elderly lady credit for asking a complete stranger to give her a ride. I knew that I was a nice person for always wanting to help out others. She was going to be in safe hands. Maybe that was the reason I found myself going through a bankruptcy. I was always too nice to people - passive. I took a chance in driving the lady because I still had 28 minutes until the hearing started.

Once I merged onto the freeway, there was so much traffic, I started to get worried. I kept glancing at my watch to make sure that I would have enough time to find parking and to make it into the court. At that moment, it seemed unlikely I would make the return trip on time. Bay 101 was just around the corner. The elderly lady was nice enough to give me $20; she begged me to keep the money. I respected her wishes and accepted the money.

On the way back, I knew that I wouldn't make it back to the court on time. This was probably the worst decision making, knowing that the bankruptcy hearing would help be instrumental in regaining my financial status back.

When I arrived at the front of the bankruptcy courthouse, I was about 5 minutes too late. I parked the car, walked to the front entrance, went through a security search, and then entered the building. I asked around for my lawyer. The lawyer confronted me and he said that I was lucky there was a power outrage for the last 30 minutes. If the power outage didn't take place, I would have lost out.

On the day of the hearing, a power outrage saved me losing more money and possibly losing out on filing bankruptcy. The only thing I could think about was giving that lady a ride. Was she an angel that caused the power outage? Was it a coincidence that she happened to be sitting right in front of the building at the exact moment I needed to go into the courthouse?

I learned a lot after separating from the military in 1998 and falling into financial hardship two years thereafter. Seven years later, I am still rebuilding my credit. I have paid all my bills on time and have managed to avoid poor decision making. Trusting shady people and making risky employment moves caused me to go bankrupt.

Some people say that I had nothing to lose. Choosing to go bankrupt prevented me finding affordable auto and credit loans. I had to wait 3 years before I could rent an apartment on my own. Student loan companies would reject me unless I had a co-signer. I think that I lost a lot. We can never go back in time to repair our mistakes. I regret that I had to go bankrupt. Now I know that you have to be careful and don't take too many chances.

Before my own personal Y2K disaster, I managed to make a decent living. My mistake was leaving a decent job to try and sell cars. That was when simple problems turned into major hardships. Thankfully, on a day in December 2002, the unplanned power outage saved my future and gave me a second change to get my life back on track.

No comments:

Post a Comment