Today’s story is a traffic stop that will surprise you. No ticket was given, something else happened. To set the stage you need to know it was a nondescript weekday comprising mild temperatures in the low teens with the sun shining persistent beams that promised to soon warm us after a frigid winter. Beyond the romance of sun and spring temperatures there were legal details to register, if a traffic stop was to be executed. Those details involved an intersection that had a no right turn sign between 8am to 5pm.

Setting now established, brisk and to the point albeit, you need to know that every time I drove that street I would watch for that right turn infraction, issue the ticket, and after a seven minute interlude the ticket would be given and I would have completed one of my many expected tasks. The other thing you may wish to know is traffic often had a personality and on this day the traffic seemed to have a reasonable personality.

Reasonable personality or not the car in front of me turned right, contrary to the rules, and I executed a traffic stop. Something was different as I approached. The driver was evidently upset and it was not about a police officer walking up. Upon arrival at the car door I fulfilled my duties and stated the reason for the traffic stop. That was the end of the police duties as I chose to ask what was going on. The answer came spilling out. The driver’s spouse had just left them (for a younger love), the driver’s dog had cancer and was being taken to the vet clinic (100 meters up the street), and they had just lost their job. The traffic stop meant nothing with the torrent of crisis falling in on the driver.

I heard the story and the winter ice of my uniform melted. The words were out before I could process what I was saying! I asked if they needed a hug. The driver crumbled a teary “yes” comprised of a head nod and hands falling off the wheel. I invited them out of the car and held them. They sobbed while “reasonable” traffic sped on by. It was one of my wonderful memories of the job jogged when I thanked a stranger for commenting on the site. You see, I emailed them a version of this story only to realize you may also want  to know what happened, and it’s moral.

no right turn

In the end little is how we think it should be but if you look at the signs you might find the colours of the rainbow.

JT Murphy signing off for shift.


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