It was bound to happen. In the past nine-and-a-half years, Justin and I have driven thousands of miles. First back and forth from Kentucky to Georgia to see each other – 475 miles each way. Then to see our parents. Then 1000 miles to Kentucky from Boston to see family. Justin got pulled over once for speeding but got out of the ticket. I wound up on the side of the road once when I ran over semi tire tread. But that’s it.
Until last night.
There we were, air drumming our way home from a friend’s house. Listening to my running mix. I saw the light turn yellow. I knew I should have stopped. But, well, I didn’t. A split second later I saw them. Blue lights. Flashing just for me.
He came up to the car, flashing his light in the back seat. I rolled down my window. Our conversation went a little something like this:
“Good evening. Any idea why I pulled you over?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure it had something to do with that red light back there.”
“Yes, it does.”
“Sir, in all honesty, I really thought it was yellow when I went through.”
“It may have been yellow when you started, but it was red the rest of the time. License and registration, please.”
And there we have it. The first time I have been pulled over in fourteen years. And the dear, sweet officer was doing a whole lot of writing. Surely too much writing to just give a warning. Probably $150 worth of warning.
Ten minutes later (incidentally, stopping for the red light would not have taken me this long), he wear back at my window. “OK, Ma’am. This is just a warning. Be careful and have a good night.”
It was all I could do not to jump out of the car and hug him. Somehow, I managed to restrain myself and turned to Robbie. I said, “Robbie, can you say ‘Thank you’ to the kind officer?”
From the back seat, I heard a very tired, “Thank you, ciffer.”
And there you have it. My perfect driving record still in tact and a little reminder to slow down. That lesson was hammered home a mile down the road where I came across a pedestrian/car accident that had just happened. And I have to wonder, would that have been me hitting the pedestrian if I hadn’t been forced to slow down?
I actually think I’m going to frame my warning. After all, who doesn’t need a visual reminder to slow down.