Just before we went into lockdown, I splashed out on a new Mercedes-Benz – a C-Class coupe I’d had my eye on for a while. Sadly I’ve had very few opportunities to use it, apart from to drive to the local supermarket, as I am now working from home indefinitely.
It mostly just sits on the driveway, so my daughter has asked if she can use it instead. She has just been asked to return to her job at a local hotel. Previously she’d catch the bus, as it’s too far to walk or cycle, but she’s worried about getting back on public transport after lockdown.
I’m very reluctant to let her take the car. She’s 20 and a pretty good driver, it’s true. I was more than happy to let her use the old runaround we used to have. But when the children had all passed their driving tests, got jobs and started earning, I decided to trade up for something much nicer for myself.
I spent a lot of money on the Mercedes and would be very worried about her crashing it – especially as it’s much larger and harder to manoeuvre than our old car.
My daughter is quite a nervous person and I think it would be good for her to get out and about again. She does have asthma, but it’s quite mild and she’s not got a letter to say she’s particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. Can I tell her to get on the bus?
The pandemic is creating a divide between two camps of employees: the can-work-from-homes, and the can’ts. You are in the lucky position to be part of the first group and will probably have benefited from not having to do your usual commute.
Others have not been so fortunate. Many – including those who, like your daughter, work in hospitality – will have been put on furlough, worrying that they will lose their jobs or that their employer will not have put safety measures in place for when they have to return.
That return to work is unlikely to be comfortable and for some will involve sitting in a mask all day and following strict new procedures. You should be more sympathetic to your daughter’s concerns, particularly if she is prone to anxiety and breathing problems.
However, some readers would argue that you are right to say she should get back on public transport. The high street, rail network and public transport system will not be able to survive unless we start using them again with confidence.
What’s more, it sounds as though you have spent years putting your children first and even chose your previous car so they could use it to learn to drive. Now they are adults, you hoped you would finally be able to treat yourself, and rightly so. It’s natural you would feel hesitant about allowing your daughter to borrow something you had waited a long time for and spent a lot of money on.
Rather than handing over the keys to your new toy, why don’t you show some solidarity and offer to catch the bus to work with her one day to help ease her nerves? Alternatively, you could offer to drive her to the hotel the first few times while she regains confidence in going out. She is after all in the tough position to be in the new wave of “frontline” workers.
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