*With the source's consent, the following is a work of nonfiction based on the experiences of a close friend.
The phrase "blood is thicker than water" describes the strong bonds between family members. In many cases, this is true - siblings usually have a close relationship and are willing to help each other in times of need. However, while blood may be thicker than water, it is not always enough to guarantee smooth sailing between two brothers.
“When you borrow a man's car, always return it with a tank of gas.” — Charlie Munger
It's been three months since Joe, Mike's brother, was driving carelessly and wrecked his car.
Mike claims that Joe's car broke down and swerved off the road because he ignored the advice of a mechanic about the steering. Joe says that the steering wasn't the problem and that he just lost control of the car for a second. Regardless of who or what is at fault, it's clear that the car was totaled, and Joe was without transportation.
After giving it some consideration, Mike decided to extend a helping hand to his brother by giving him the use of his car. That is, at least for the time being, until Joe got a chance to have his fixed.
Joe was beyond grateful and promised to take care of Mike's car as if it were his own. In the meantime, since Mike's home was so near his office, he could enjoy the fresh morning air while pedaling his bicycle to work. He'd get in a nice workout while saving on gas, and he didn't have to worry about dealing with traffic.
Life was good.
But, for whatever reason, Joe did not get his car repaired during this period. Mike grew impatient and repeatedly asked his brother when he planned to return the car. Joe would always respond with excuses, saying that he needed more time or that he was waiting for his tax return so he could get the repairs done all at once.
Mike grew angrier with each passing day. He began to feel he was being taken advantage of and that his brother didn't appreciate all he was doing for him.
While all this was going on, their parents even offered Joe a loan to fix his car. But he refused, saying he wanted to do it independently. According to Mike, the loan was always a non-starter since his generosity was perceived as a "free pass" for Joe to use the vehicle without paying for gas, insurance, or car payments and to go anywhere he wants.
However, a significant shift in the car drama occurred when Mike was instructed by his manager to report for afternoon shifts. And he really didn't feel like riding his bike at noon when the sun was blasting heat.
However, being the patient and generous brother that he is, he informed Joe that he had two weeks before the spare key would be taken away from him and that he would no longer be permitted to use it.
Joe became irate and started to scream, "How dare you take away my only means of transportation!" to which Mike replied, "You had three months, Joe. What did you expect?"
The two continued to bicker until Mike finally had enough and told his brother that he was done arguing with him and that he needed to get his act together and return the car.
It's been two weeks and one day since then. Joe has not made any effort to repair his car or find alternative transportation. And yesterday morning, he deliberately woke up before Mike in order to drive the car to work.
Mike was done. He placed a call to Joe at his job and demanded that he return the car immediately. Joe refused, said he needed it for his job, and then hung up on Mike.
Mike shrugged, dialed 911, and reported the theft of his vehicle to the cops. One hour later, Joe was taken into custody.
And then, his parents had to go bail him out.
His brother is now facing charges for unauthorized use of a car, and Mike’s parents are fuming. Joe is now claiming that Mike never told him he couldn't use the car and that he only meant to borrow it for a couple of weeks. But Mike has the text messages to prove otherwise.
Yet, according to the parents, Mike has crossed a line here. They claim that he could have just taken the car away from his brother without calling the police and making such a big deal out of it.
Mike, though, insists that he is in the right. He has also stated that he would do it again if necessary.
At this point, Mike and Joe are not speaking to each other. And, it seems as if their relationship may never be the same. The parents are worried if Joe’s found guilty, he will lose his job. They’re also concerned about the long-term effect this will have on Mike and Joe’s relationship.
But in Mike’s opinion, it's Joe's own fault. He believes that his brother should have just taken responsibility for his actions and not blame him or anyone else for his problems. Joe is now awaiting his trial date, and the outcome is still unknown.
But, one thing is for sure, this family will never be the same.
What do you think?
Was Mike wrong for calling the police?
Or was Joe wrong for not returning the car when he said he would?
Let me know what you think in the comments, and don't forget to share this article with your friends and family.
Thanks for reading,