What are the first thoughts that run through your head when a cop pulls you over? For some it’s, “Oh no, not again.” For others it’s, “Stupid cops. Why are they around to bust me, but not any of the really bad drivers?” Or, if you’re like me, “Yeah, I deserve a ticket. I knew that was wrong.”
Last night I flipped an illegal U-turn after getting lost on my way to a volleyball game for which I was late. I noticed a cop follow me around the corner and while his lights weren’t on, I knew I was busted, so I found a spot to pull over– no mean feat with Edmonton’s many No Parking signs– and he pulled up behind me and put on his lights.
I’ll spare you the gritty details, but basically first he made sure I was alright. I flipped the U-turn pretty fast (there was oncoming traffic, but I maintain I had lots of time) and he was worried that I was lost and there was some sort of emergency. We chatted for a bit, he helped me figure out where I was going, he looked at my driver’s license and registration. He handed it back, warned me to drive more carefully, and wished me a pleasant evening. No ticket. I was shocked.
I was thinking about it after I got home that night, and was actually thankful that the cop pulled me over. Sometimes we need someone to remind us when we’ve done something wrong, and that, just because we’ve seen other people do it, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay. So, to that cop who pulled me over, I want to say thank you. He was doing his job, I got a warning, but besides the warning winding up in the police system, it also wound up in my brain. And now, every time I’m tempted to pull some stupid stunt driving, I’ll remember that it’s not just about me, but about the other driver’s on the road. If I had waited to find a spot where I could easily turn around, and take my time, I probably would have used an extra two minutes. Not the end of the world. Granted, having a cop to give me directions– that was quite helpful.