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The 129th RQW Safety Files: The Ticket

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down. He was going 73 in a 55 mph zone! This was his fourth time getting pulled over in a few months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 mph, Jack pulled over, but only partially. He let the police officer worry about the potential traffic hazard, maybe another car will swipe his backside with a mirror. As he was stepping out of his car with his ticket pad in hand when Jack realized who he would soon be facing. Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat.

This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian police man catching a guy from his own church, a guy who happened to be a little too eager to get home after a long day at the office. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.

"Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

"Hello, Jack," the uncertain officer replied with no smile.

"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."

"Yeah, I guess," said the police man.

"I've seen some long days at the office. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit -- just this once," Jack mumbled as he toed a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."

Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

"What'd you clock me at?"

"Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

"Please, Jack. In the car."

Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near him again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand.

Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. "Thanks," Jack said not quite able keep the sneer out of his voice.

Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. He unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke?

Jack began to read:

"Dear Jack,
Once upon a time, I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it -- a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free.

Free to hug his daughters, all three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Pray for me and be careful. My son is all I have left. Bob."

Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

Life is precious. Handle with care. Drive safely and carefully. Remember that cars are not the only things recalled by their maker.

With summer vacation right around the corner and the 101 critical day of summer starting remember that your driving decisions impact more than yourself.

Be safety minded out there and remember to buckle up!