I was driving home from an audition at Miramax at around 5 p.m on a Tuesday afternoon. I was cruising along Santa Monica Boulevard, enjoying the day's sunshine, when suddenly God appeared in my front passenger's seat. I was startled. "OH LORD..."
God turned to me quickly and said, "There is a reason for Sandra Bullock." Then he disappeared in a great rush of wind.
I lost control of my Hyundai and swerved abruptly into the right lane. The car next to me honked violently. There was a sudden thud as I banged into the other car.
The other car skidded for a moment. Then the driver regained control and slowed down. I noticed that it was a woman driver. She quickly skidded to a stop. I slowed down and pulled to a stop behind her. I parked. My hands were shaking. I reached into the glove compartment for my insurance card.
God had chosen to visit me again. I felt badly shaken.
I climbed slowly out of the car to talk with the other driver.
As soon as I got home from the accident, I called my agent to tell him what had happened. I explained how God had suddenly appeared in my car and made me swerve across the road. My agent listened silently for a moment, then said, "All right, here's what we're gonna do...we're gonna make you into the next Kato...We're gonna put you on 'Judge Judy.' Let me make a couple of calls. Just sit tight."
My agent called back an hour later. He'd succeeded in pulling a few favors and had booked me on the 'Judge Judy' show, two months later. My agent figured that it would be good publicity for my career. And, since God had caused the accident, it wasn't my fault. Legally, I could argue that it was an "act of God," which would mean I wasn't responsible for any damages.
When the day of the 'Judge Judy' show arrived, I put on my best business suit and arrived at the studio an hour early. Backstage I saw the woman whose car I'd hit. Her name was Marilena. I tried to talk to her, but she walked away nervously.
At the start of the show, Marilena and I took our places behind the Plaintiff and Defendant stands. As soon as the show began taping, Judge Judy entered the courtroom. The bailiff announced, "All rise." Everyone stood up. Judge Judy said, "Be seated." Everyone sat down except for Marilena and me. After a moment, Judge Judy said to Marilena, "All right ma'am, tell me exactly what happened."
Marilena looked at Judge Judy. "Your honor, I was driving on the street and he make--"
"Don't point to anyone, ma'am. Tell me exactly who 'he' is."
"Him-- the defendant."
Marilena swallowed nervously. "The defendant's car crash into mine. I didn't see it coming or nothing."
"I see. Then what."
"He hit me and dented my door. I hurt my neck. My husband says I have--"
"Stick to the facts, ma'am. I don't want to hear anything your husband says. We call that hearsay. It's not relevant here. Comprende?"
"Yes, your honor."
"All right, continue."
Marilena shuffled some papers nervously. "I have the receipt for the repair of my car. I also went to a doctor about my neck--"
"Was your neck hurting before the accident?"
"No, your honor."
"And I have the note from the doctor that says my neck got hurt. I also have the receipt from the doctor."
Judge Judy turned to the bailiff. "Bailiff will please take the papers from the plaintiff."
"Yes, your honor." The bailiff stepped over and took the paperwork from Marilena. She handed it to him nervously. He walked over and handed it to Judge Judy. She put on her reading glasses and studied the various slips of paper. After a moment, she looked up at Marilena. "Do you have insurance?"
"Yes, your honor.”
"Then why are you suing through this court?"
Marilena looked down for a moment. "I went to the insurance but this man said it's not his fault. He made me go to court."
Judge Judy looked at me. "Is that right, sir?"
I gave Judge Judy a big smile. "Yes, Judge Judy."
Judge Judy frowned at me. "In this courtroom you'll address me as 'Your Honor.' Is that clear?"
I nodded. "Absolutely."
She paused for a moment. "This woman says you hit her car. Is that true?"
I nodded again. "Yes, your honor."
"So what's the problem?"
"It's not my fault, your honor."
"It's not your fault?"
Judge Judy turned to Marilena. "Do you have anything more to say?"
"He hit my car, your honor. I was only driving and his car come up and hit me."
Judge Judy put up her hand. "Okay, okay." She turned to me. "Sir, if it's not your fault, whose fault is it?"
"God, your honor."
Judge Judy rolled her eyes. Behind me I could hear members of the audience begin to laugh. I turned around to them and waved quickly.
Judge Judy cleared her throat. "Sir. Do not look at the courtroom. Look at me. Only at me. Understand?"
"Yes, your honor."
Judge Judy turned to the bailiff. "This is a new one."
The bailiff nodded his head. "Yes it is, your honor."
Judge Judy turned to me. "Okay, sir. Why is God responsible?"
I smiled. "Well, he came into my car. Out of nowhere."
The audience began to laugh. Judy Judy scowled at them. "Everyone keep quiet. I ask the questions. I laugh. I don't want to hear a peep out of anyone else." She paused, then turned to me. "Sir, you're telling me that God appeared in your car."
"Yes, your honor."
"Well that's certainly an interesting story. And did he have the white hair and the flowing robes?"
"No, your honor."
Judge Judy nodded. "I see.... well, what did he look like?"
"Sort of like David Geffen."
I could hear the audience chuckling. Judge Judy glared at them for a moment. Then she turned back to me. "He looked like David Geffen, the record producer?"
"Yes, your honor."
Judge Judy nodded. "Uh-huh. Then what?"
"He talked to me, your honor."
Judge Judy looked at the bailiff. "This is getting very interesting."
The bailiff nodded. He was grinning. "Yes, your honor."
Judge Judy turned back to me. "And what did God say to you?"
I paused. "Well your honor, it was very brief. He said, 'There is a reason for Sandra Bullock.'"
Behind me the audience was laughing. Judge Judy squinted at them. "I don't know if it'll do any good to remind this courtroom to remain absolutely quiet." She turned back to me. "So God talked to you, and that means you're not responsible for this traffic accident?"
I gave Judge Judy another smile. "Well, your honor, I was startled. I lost control of my car. Normally I'm a great driver."
"I see. It was God's fault."
"Right, your honor. It was an act of God."
Judge Judy shook her head. She looked at the bailiff. "This is the biggest load of baloney I've ever heard."
"But it really happened, your honor."
Judge Judy shook her head. "Sorry. I ain't buying it. This is a simple case. You hit her car, you pay for the damages." She rapped her gavel. "Judgment for the plaintiff, all costs. Case closed."
Judge Judy stood up and walked out of the courtroom. The bailiff was already saying, "All rise..."
After a moment I walked out of the courtroom. The show's reporter was waiting for me in the hallway. His hair was perfect. He waved to me and held up a microphone. "Tell me -- what do you think of Judge Judy's verdict?"
I looked at the camera and smiled. "It was great. She's great."
He raised his eyebrows. "Really? Most people seem disappointed when they lose a case."
I shook my head. "Not me. I thought it was great working with Judy. She's got great presence. She's one of the strongest women in TV today."
He chuckled. "No one's ever talked about the judge like that before."
I smiled at the camera again. "What can I say? I'm a fan. I hope she does a feature soon. Maybe a comedy or something. You know-- just to break out of the mold."
The reporter looked at me for a moment. "Uhh, yes... well, thanks for your time..."
The camera light switched off. I walked away.###