Monday, December 21, 2009

Twelve (more) Gifts: #2 MERCY (in the form of a Candy Cane)

I looked at the clock as I backed out of the garage, and true panic set in. It was already ten minutes later than I’d planned to leave. But if I timed all my stops right, and lucked out with a good parking place, I could still make it to my final in time. I whipped around the corner and was racing down the hill when I saw the lights. Not red and green. Red and blue. I slammed on my brakes (while pretending to be inadvertently fiddling with the radio) and went nonchalantly by. Until the lights spun around and followed me.

I couldn’t believe it. Just a couple of blocks from my house I was being pulled over. Officer Henderson stepped up to the window and introduced himself, requesting my insurance and I.D. While he was back in the squad car doing whatever they do back in the squad car, I texted my husband: “I just got pulled over. If I wasn’t already late for my final, I definitely am now!” And then I sat there and squirmed while I waited impatiently for the officer to come back with my ticket. Hubby texted back: “You got pulled over?! (sad face) Did you get a ticket?”

I imagined all my stressed-out students sitting there wondering where their teacher was, and then imagined the cops getting some kind of perverse pleasure out of taking their sweet time, making sure I was extra EXTRA late in order to teach me a lesson. After what felt like several centuries, Officer Henderson stepped back up to the window. Visions of having to return our kids’ Christmas presents to pay for a speeding ticket danced in my head. Clumsily.

“Here’s your Driver’s License.” I thanked him. Possibly not very sincerely. “Now...going 16 miles over in a residential zone is not safe traveling. I’m giving you this...”

(If you’re not sitting down, I suggest you do so now.)

“I’m giving you this candy cane from the city police department as a reminder to slow down.” My jaw dropped. And then I laughed. “Really?”

“Yep. That’s it. Have a Merry Christmas.” Yeah. You too. Go figure.

I texted Jeff back: “They gave me a candy cane.” His response was "What?"

So it turned out I was about 15 minutes late for my final. But I had an AWESOME story to tell when I got there! --And no ticket.

I loved that gesture of mercy, during the season we most celebrate the true Giver of Mercy. A candy cane that let me off the hook. And the funny thing is, it made me want to extend that same kind of mercy to those around me. To give them the benefit of the doubt and a second chance. (I might even throw in a candy cane.)


Luann said...

I LOVE this story. The best thing about is your desire to pay it forward.

Kazzy said...

So, did you let the students out of the final? As a way of extending mercy forward? :)

So funny you were texting J through the whole thing!

Promise you will leave 30 minutes before your final next semester, k?


Lara said...

That is the coolest thing I have ever heard! I love it.

All of my tickets have been when I was running late. I have really tried to just slow down and be late, instead of poor. :)

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Barbaloot said...

I'm so jealous. I got pulled over about two weeks ago and was saddled with a $90 ticket---not a candy cane!! If I had been, I'd have hung it up on my review mirror to remind me not to speed.

Kristina P. said...

What a funny story!

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

dietcokegrrl said...

AMAZING! Only in Utah are they that forgiving I guess.

I've gotten two tickets in one week, twice. Does that make sense?

The first time, both were in West LA, and the second time both were in Pasadena--but I WAS 36 weeks pregnant the last time. Can't a pregnant woman catch a break Pasadena PD? I seriously loathe Pasadena PD AND their stupid parking enforcement drones. Especially since one of those two tickets was for tailgating (the other was for speeding)...and I was on my way to church. Of course, he pulled me over right in front of the church building while everyone was pulling into the parking lot. I went straight home after that to cry (stupid pregnancy hormones).

Glad you had a better experience than I did!

Kimberly said...

Wow! Truly a great story. I'm touched and I want to laugh all at the same time!

breckster said...

The coolest things happen to you. Mercy is a wonderful gift, even if it makes you late.

L.T. Elliot said...

Now that is a cool cop. What an amazing thing to do because that one act of kindness will spur on safer driving and further acts of kindneses. So glad it all worked out. *hugs*

Dedee said...

That. Was. Awesome!

I want to be that person!

Tammy Lorna said...

Haha! What a great story! I'm pretty sure only the Provo police department would come up with something like that, but I love it :)

xo Tammy

deb said...

Loved this story,
and it took me two trips back here to comment. So much busy!

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Debbie said...

Isn't that the greatest? I am loving this story! (And happy you didn't get a ticket.)

Jessica said...

Ah, this is perfect! Everyone should try giving this gift this year! And couldn't have happened to a more deserving person :)

Heidi Ashworth said...

That would never ever happen in California. I'm glad it happened to you!