A Community Service Transaction


It was dark outside and I was almost home. I had told the General I should be home before she got out of church last night, but I was running a little behind schedule. It was after 5:00 when I left the office at Miracle Farm. When I came through Brenham, I opted to stop at Second Chance. I’d never been inside the store before, but one of the silent auction items the General had placed the winning bid on at a fundraiser for the program on Saturday night had been donated from there. I guess I was still feeling a little guilty that I had done nothing for Valentine’s Day. Maybe I’d find something that would boost her spirits.


First let me say, Second Chance is the kind of antique shop and mercantile where you can spend a lot of time. I didn’t have a lot of time. The posted sign on the door showed closing time as 6:00. I only had twenty minutes to look. There was also signage on the door indicating that: “Your Pet Is Welcome. Please Don’t Leave Animals In Your Car”. Knowing the place was dog friendly was also a positive thing. I guess I was missing Barnabas.


Almost by the time I had taken three or four steps inside the store, I saw the display of hand carved swans like the General had purchased. The shop had donated a small swan for the silent action. My eyes gravitated to the larger swan. The price tag reflected a price of a little more that $1,100. I had the thought: “I can get a heart shaped box of chocolate candy for a lot less somewhere down the road.”


I quickly walked through the rest of the shop and found that the antiques and signature items were top quality and equivalently priced. I needed more time. I probably also needed more money. Consequently, I left the store without making a purchase, but I resolved to return on another day.


Like I said, “It was dark outside and I was almost home.” The flashing lights of a police car in the distance ahead perforated the darkness. I intuitively checked my speed. I don’t know why I did that. My car was set on cruise control. I was not speeding. I guess you could say that I have the ability to live and learn.  When I drive, I try to keep my car between the fence poles on either side of the highway and within the posted speed limit.


I intuitively pulled my car to the inside lane as I approached the stopped police car with the flashing lights parked on the shoulder of the highway to my right. There was not a stopped car in front of his, so he obviously had just completed a community service transaction. How’s that for putting a positive spin on giving someone a speeding ticket?


Looking in my rearview mirror, I noticed that the flashing lights were no longer flashing. That meant only one thing. The DPS car was now rolling and behind me. Looking back forward (that’s a strange expression), I noticed the green light at the upcoming highway intersection was now yellow. Luckily, I had time to stop, but barely. On another day I might have rolled on through, but why take unnecessary chances?  I am not certifiably crazy.


Moving forward through the intersection after the light turned green, I noticed the darkness was now perforated once again with the flashing lights of a DPS car. This time the lights were behind me but they were still moving. My eyes automatically looked down to the speedometer. I wasn’t speeding. I also noticed there wasn’t another car between me and the flashing lights. I obviously was the target (I mean recipient) of the next community service venture.


I pulled way over off the shoulder of the highway before stopping. I didn’t know if he’d approach me from the driver’s window or the passengers. I’ve seen it done both ways. Actually, I’ve experienced it done both ways. Did I mention, I never find the experience the highlight of my day or night?


I made a mental inventory of what I’ve learned about being appropriately stopped. I kept my seat belt fastened with both hands on the wheel. I was also glad that I wasn’t packing heat. Consequently, I didn’t need to mention the presence of firearms.


The young man walked to the driver’s window. “I’m stopping you because the clear light above your license plate is not working”. Did he then actually verbalize the question: “Did you know that” or was it simply implied? Regardless, it was a stupid question. How would I possibly know that?


I replied, “I was in a car accident on Friday. My car was hit from behind. I am putting the car in the repair shop on Monday”. “Who hit you was his next question?” I responded: “A guy driving a pickup”. He seemed satisfied with my answer even though I actually hadn’t provided a name. “Insurance” was his next statement or maybe it was a question? I didn’t know.  I asked for clarification: “Are you asking for my insurance documentation?” He said: “No, did the driver have insurance?”


I responded that the driver had insurance and that his insurance company called me the following day accepting full responsibility and giving me permission to get my vehicle repaired at a shop of my choosing. He responded: “You were lucky”. He then asked for my driver’s license.


He looked at my license and then looked back and me and said: “You look young for thirty-five.” I said “Thank you”. There is nothing like dividing the number in half. I thought it was a nice gesture. He then said: “This will take only a minutes, but I am going to issue you a warning ticket. This isn’t going to cost you anything.” That, too, was a good will gesture.


He then disappeared with my license in hand. A brief time later, he gave me a warning citation for signature and a copy for my keeping. I was actually grateful for the notification that the license plate light was out. How else would I have known?  I now have better information to provide the repair shop.


I thanked the young man for his time and said: “Your kindness in providing a warning ticket promotes good will. Thank you very much.”


All My Best!



2 thoughts on “A Community Service Transaction”

  1. I had been stopped for that very reason a long time ago. The officer that stopped me said it made me a ‘suspicious vehicle.’ Needless to say, accepting my own warning ticket, I drove directly to the auto parts store!! Warning tickets DO serve a purpose, eh? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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