It’s only the second time I’ve been ticketed and the first time since college.
I was on my way to have lunch with a man on our Missions team when I was pulled over in front of Starbucks. The Police Officer seemed to be in a very bad mood. He didn’t tell me why he pulled me over, but sternly asked for my license, insurance, and registration.
He pointed out that my registration had expired 2 days ago (!!!!!!) .
I said, “Oh no.”
He said nothing and went back to his car.
He returned with a citation for $71.
Before I signed it, I begged, “Is there anything you can do? My registration on my tag says that it’s good through 04 of 06, so I thought I had until the end of the month to renew.”
“You don’t,” officer Torres mumbled gruffly.
Feeling unjustifiably indignant I continued, “I’m a preacher and I promise you I’ll pay this immediately. I didn’t realize I was in violation . . . ” (If you’re a preacher, you know that it’s sometimes a powerful tool–mentioning that one is a preacher, that is–that can diffuse and divert potential problems.)
“Why didn’t you say that earlier?” Officer Torres asked.
I smiled hopefully.
“There’s nothing I can do about it now,” Officer Torres concluded, handed me the citation, and walked away.
I stopped smiling.
He was right. The fine print on my registration clearly reads that my tag expired on April 17th–my birthday by the way–and it was April 19th, so I was a law breaker. Happy Birthday to me.
I was late to my lunch meeting, so I rushed off slowly.
Over the next 23 minutes in the car I felt anger, frustration, embarrassment . . .
I’m not, nor was I, angry at Officer Torres . . . although, I won’t add him to my Christmas card list. He was just doing his job and I deserved a ticket . . .
but I also felt gratitude for the fact that if God had been the one who pulled me over yesterday, Jesus would have appeared out of Starbucks, set his grande vanilla cream on the top of my car, paid the $71 fine, winked lovingly at me before picking up his grande vanilla cream and walking back to Starbucks . . . and I would have made it to my meeting on time.