A story about a ticket I didn't get
I have Disable Veteran Plates on one of my cars and Purple Heart plates on the other car. Although I am a Vietnam Era Disabled Veteran I try not to use that as an excuse for anything as some days I get by OK and other days the wounds from shrapnel against my spine is almost unbearable. I have been stopped for speeding a couple of times in the past few years, but never got a ticket and I do believe the plates helped. This story is about one of those times.
One day a while back I was in the vehicle that has the DAV license plates on it going up to Oklahoma from Dallas and got pulled over by the Denton police after cresting an overpass doing about 80 in a 70. After stopping and waiting for the officer to approach my car I noticed he was on the radio a few minutes before he got out and came up to my car. When he got to my car he asked me if I knew why he stopped and I told him, “Yep, I was speeding.” (Even though everyone else around me was doing about the same speed, I just got picked out of the crowd.) I felt that there was no sense in even bringing that up. I was guilty.
He then asked for my license and insurance and proceeded back to his vehicle to run the information. I guess he needed to see if I was wanted on any warrants or an escaped convict, etc. He was in his car for about 10 minutes before he returned, and I kind of started to get worried. He then returned to my car and gave me back my license and insurance papers.
After a slight pause he then asked me what I did for a living. I told him I didn't do anything as I was a Disabled Vet and really couldn't do anything anyone would hire me for on a regular basis. He had his ticket book in hand and what he did next really surprised me.
He closed his ticket book and in a quiet, sincere voice said "Thank you for your service sir and please try and slow down". With a quick snap to attention he saluted me and then walked back to his car and drove off.
I sat there for a moment and reflected on how long it had been since anyone had taken the time to consider the pain, separation and long hours that the 18 years in the Army had demanded of me. What he did doesn't happen often and as I felt the moisture begin to well up in my eyes my emotions ran the gambit between embarrassment and pride. His actions deeply moved me to the point that it took me a few minutes to regain my composure before I could continue to drive.
It was a simple thing, but very, very powerful to me. Vietnam Veterans generally don't get a lot of respect. The license plates were no excuse for breaking the law, but in this case, I think it helped save me a ticket. I didn't even have a chance to say thank you as he was gone so quickly.
I never knew the officers name but I know that's one fellow I did it all for and would do it again. To that officer, whomever he may be, I promise to try and slow down. Try, being the operative word here.
'09 Versys -Green