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Smiling, well-dressed woman standing beside a car | Source: Shutterstock
Smiling, well-dressed woman standing beside a car | Source: Shutterstock

My Cousin Posts about Her 'Success' While Owing Me $5,000 – I Wanted to Teach Her a Lesson, But Karma Did It Better

Caitlin Farley
Jun 25, 2024
10:15 A.M.

When my cousin crashed our rental car, leaving me with a $5,000 bill, I spent months trying to get her to pay me back. Just as I gave up, I saw her flaunting her 'success' on social media and discovered I wasn't the only one she owed. Karma caught up to her, and I got a front-row seat!

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It's been a year since that disastrous West Coast holiday, and I still feel the sting of that $5,000 debt. My cousin Debra, who's supposed to be an accountant, racked up a huge damage charge on our rental car and then had the audacity to act like it wasn't her problem.

A carefree woman | Source: Pexels

A carefree woman | Source: Pexels

It was under my name, so guess who got stuck with the bill? That's right, me. Lisa, the ever-reliable project manager from Boston. I swear, some days I think my middle name should be "Doormat."

I remember that holiday like it was yesterday. Seven of us cousins decided to get together for some "family bonding" out on the West Coast.

Debra was there, of course, with her charismatic charm and reckless attitude. One evening, she decided it would be a fantastic idea to drive the rental car down a narrow, winding coastal road at night.

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A car driving down a winding coastal road at night | Source: Midjourney

A car driving down a winding coastal road at night | Source: Midjourney

The air was crisp, the moonlight casting eerie shadows as she sped along the road, ignoring my pleas to slow down.

"Come on, Lisa, live a little!" Debra laughed, her voice filled with reckless glee.

She cranked up the music and took another swig from her bottle. I clutched the seat, my knuckles white.

"Debra, please, you're going too fast!" I yelled, my heart pounding.

A frightened woman in a car | Source: Midjourney

A frightened woman in a car | Source: Midjourney

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She just laughed harder, taking a sharp turn way too quickly. My heart stopped as the car skidded toward the edge, tires screeching.

I thought we were all going to die that night, but the guardrail saved us. The impact when we slammed into it was jarring, leaving us all stunned and the car a complete wreck.

The holiday mood? Completely ruined.

When the rental company slapped a $5,000 damage charge on the car, Debra just shrugged.

"We're family," she said with a flippant wave of her hand. "We should all pitch in."

A woman with her hands in the air | Source: Midjourney

A woman with her hands in the air | Source: Midjourney

The other cousins mumbled vague agreements.

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"Maybe we can split it evenly," suggested Jimmy, the peacemaker of the group.

"Split it? Are you kidding? I wasn't even in the car," retorted Martha, crossing her arms.

"I can't afford that right now," mumbled Jake, avoiding eye contact.

"You guys, it's not fair to leave Lisa with the bill," said Emily, trying to be reasonable.

In the end, everyone conveniently vanished when it came time to cough up the money. I was left holding the bag. Typical.

A furious woman about to pay a bill | Source: Midjourney

A furious woman about to pay a bill | Source: Midjourney

For the past eight months, I've been trying to get Debra to pay me back. Every time I called, she had a new excuse.

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"I'm going through a tough time, Lisa. You know how it is," she'd say, her voice trembling with feigned sorrow.

"Debra, it's been months. I need that money," I said, trying to keep my voice steady.

"I'm still waiting for my bonus. Just give me a little more time," she replied, her tone dripping with fake sincerity.

A woman on a phone call | Source: Pexels

A woman on a phone call | Source: Pexels

Each call ended the same way, with me feeling more frustrated and her offering more empty promises. It's amazing how someone with a high-paying job can always be so broke.

The financial strain started to weigh on me. I found myself cutting back on little luxuries, skipping outings with friends, and even dipping into my savings to cover unexpected expenses.

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My stress levels soared, affecting my work. I snapped at colleagues over minor issues and found it hard to concentrate on projects. My boss noticed, too.

A woman staring despondently at her laptop | Source: Pexels

A woman staring despondently at her laptop | Source: Pexels

"Lisa, your performance has slipped lately. Is everything okay?" he asked one afternoon.

"I'm sorry, just dealing with some personal financial issues," I replied, embarrassed.

"Try to get it sorted. We need you at your best," he said, his tone firm but understanding.

The pressure was immense, and it was all because of Debra's irresponsibility.

A stressed woman at work | Source: Pexels

A stressed woman at work | Source: Pexels

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I tried to let it go. I really did. But last weekend, I was scrolling through social media, minding my own business, when I saw it: a picture of Debra flaunting a brand new, ridiculously expensive necklace.

The caption read, "Hard work pays off! #Blessed #LivingMyBestLife." My blood boiled. I was about to comment something scathing when I noticed I wasn't the only one who was angry.

"Debra, where's the $300 you owe me?" one comment read.

An expensive necklace | Source: Pexels

An expensive necklace | Source: Pexels

Another person chimed in, "Still waiting on that $200 from two years ago. Must be nice to 'live your best life' on borrowed money."

I couldn't believe it. Apparently, Debra's financial irresponsibility wasn't just my problem. She had a whole trail of unpaid debts and pissed-off people.

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I felt a strange mix of vindication and fury. Vindication, because it wasn't just me she was screwing over, and fury, because I had let her get away with it for so long.

A woman scrolling on her phone | Source: Pexels

A woman scrolling on her phone | Source: Pexels

So, I poured myself a glass of wine and watched as the comments piled up. Over the next two hours, I had a front-row seat as her bragging post turned into a disaster.

The next day, I got a call from Debra. Her voice was uncharacteristically shaky. "Lisa, I'm in big trouble," she sobbed. "My creditors have banded together, and they've sent a lawyer to demand their money back. I don't know what to do!"

I took a deep breath, trying to keep my voice steady.

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A woman on a phone call | Source: Pexels

A woman on a phone call | Source: Pexels

"Oh? Where should I sign to get my $5,000 back?" I asked, my tone measured but firm.

There was a brief silence before she responded, "Lisa, please, I don't know what to do! I can't handle this. They're threatening legal action!"

"Debra, you've been irresponsible for far too long," I said, my frustration bubbling over. "It's not just about being bad with money. You have a blatant disregard for your debts and the impact it has on others."

A woman having a tense phone conversation | Source: Midjourney

A woman having a tense phone conversation | Source: Midjourney

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"I know, I know!" she cried, her voice breaking. "I didn't mean for it to get this bad. I thought I could manage it all, but it's spiraled out of control."

"You need to make a plan, Debra," I insisted. "You need to start paying people back. This isn't just going to go away."

"How? I don't have that kind of money lying around," she wailed.

"What about your shiny new necklace?" I suggested, trying to keep my voice calm.

A stern woman | Source: Pexels

A stern woman | Source: Pexels

"You can sell it and use the money to pay off your debts," I continued. "It's a start."

There was a long pause. "I'll sell my car," she finally said, her voice barely above a whisper. "I'll pay you back. I promise."

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A week later, Debra showed up at my apartment. She looked different, defeated. The glint of that necklace from her social media post was gone, replaced by a stark, hollow look. She handed me an envelope without a word.

An envelope | Source: Pexels

An envelope | Source: Pexels

"Thanks," I said, taking the envelope and opening it to count the money. It was all there. "I hope this teaches you a lesson, Debra."

She nodded, tears streaming down her face. "I'm sorry, Lisa. I really am."

I felt a mix of relief and pity. Relief because I finally had my money back, and pity because Debra was genuinely distressed.

"Debra, you need to understand the impact of your actions on others. It's not just about the money; it's about trust and responsibility."

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One woman reprimanding another | Source: Midjourney

One woman reprimanding another | Source: Midjourney

She nodded again, wiping her tears. "I know. I've learned my lesson. I'm going to be more responsible from now on."

As she left, I sat down and reflected on the whole situation. I realized that karma and collective action had been more effective than my attempts at resolution. Debra's downfall was a harsh reminder of the importance of accountability.

I hoped she would change, but only time would tell.

A thoughtful woman | Source: Pexels

A thoughtful woman | Source: Pexels

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For me, this experience deepened my understanding of fairness and justice. I had always believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but this ordeal taught me the importance of standing up for myself and not letting others take advantage of my reliability.

In the weeks that followed, I noticed a change in Debra. She sold her car and downsized her lifestyle, focusing on paying off her debts.

It wasn't an overnight transformation, but it was a start. I hoped she would stay on this path and learn to be more responsible.

A woman holding a glass | Source: Pexels

A woman holding a glass | Source: Pexels

As for me, I felt a renewed sense of strength and determination. I was no longer willing to be a doormat. It was a tough lesson, but one that I would carry with me for the rest of my life.

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In the end, I realized that sometimes people need to face the consequences of their actions to truly change.

So, to anyone out there dealing with a "Debra" in their life, remember to stand your ground and demand accountability. It's not always easy, but it's worth it. And who knows? Maybe your "Debra" will learn their lesson too.

Click here to read how one woman hits her breaking point when her boyfriend buys a boat instead of contributing to bill payments. Already neck-deep in debt and facing a pay cut, she plans a surprise that'll change everything.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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