When David’s friend pulled up in front of his house on a Saturday morning and asked him if he wanted to drive, David said “Yes!” and cruised around the neighborhood. It turned out David was driving a stolen vehicle. As part of his probation, David participated in a mediation session with his mother, Monica, and Marina, the owner of the car. Due to Covid-19, the mediation took place via video conference.
David reluctantly began the mediation by sharing his side of the story - that he did not steal the car, claiming he had no idea the car did not belong to his friend. David felt his friend who stole the car should be the one at the mediation and not him. His mother, however, was quick to remind David that he was responsible because he was the one driving. She told him the minute he left the house, where he was supposed to be watching his younger siblings, and got behind the wheel, he was responsible for his behavior. Monica also wanted to be sure Marina knew that David was a good kid, had great grades and had never been in trouble before. During the mediation, David shared more about himself; that he wants to do well in school and become a video game designer.
Marina appreciated the opportunity to share her side of the story as well. Marina is a single mom with a teenage son and was completely panicked when she could not find her car one morning. She searched for an hour before finally calling the police. She could not go to work that day and her son missed school. Even though she got her car back, she had been unable to drive it due to the damage. Marina had to rely on others for rides and spend money on Uber to get to work. Marina also expressed that she felt violated that her car had been stolen.
During the mediator’s private conversation with David and his mother, David spoke about how frightening the entire experience had been for him. David was incredibly scared and cried when he was arrested. His younger sister and Grandmother witnessed his arrest and they both were traumatized by the experience. Mom and David both spoke about how they wanted to move forward and put this incident behind them so David could focus on school and his future.
When the mediator brought the parties back together, David apologized to Marina. Marina told David how much he reminded her of her own son and how she knows teenagers make mistakes and that is important to learn from them.
David’s mom then shared that her own car was stolen the previous year and found totaled in a neighboring state, filled with firearms. She understood what it was like to lose the independence a car provides and the expense of having to use Uber. Since she knew David did not have any money to give, she offered to pay Marina $225, and in return David would help her out more around the house; doing weekly laundry, cleaning out the garage and babysitting his siblings. David quickly agreed to this.
They decided to write up this agreement, exchanged cell numbers and Marina, David and mom all wished each other well. Through mediation, David, Monica and Marina were able to find a solution that met their needs and opened the possibility for a more positive relationship in the future.