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How Getting Out of a Speeding Ticket Taught Me a Life Lesson

State Trooper writing a ticket
Flickr/woodleywonderworks

I love New Jersey, and I have an immense amount of respect for every single person who lives, works or plays here in the Garden State. With that said, it’s that respect that got me thinking last night… just after I got pulled over in a town I won’t identify, on a road that will also remain unsaid.

First, I admit I was speeding. No doubt about it. I saw the cruiser pull out as I whizzed past. It got right up behind me, and I knew what was about to happen.

I pulled over and saw the officer getting out of his car. But at the same time, I also noticed that I was a little to close to the roadway. I put my hand out the window, made a “hold on one second” gesture, and then pulled my car further from the busy road.

As the officer approached he thanked me for that. He then asked why I was speeding. I told him the truth, that I didn’t realize I was going that fast. I was passing a slower car in the left lane on my way home from work. Then I told him I was sorry.

I then gave him my license, registration and insurance information. He went back to his car, no doubt to check and make sure I didn’t have any outstanding warrants — which I don’t.

He came back and told me he wasn’t going to give me a ticket. Awesome! But why not? I was speeding. Heck, I admitted it.

What I think it comes down to is respect. He saw, before ever speaking to me, that by pulling my car further from the road, I respect both him and the job he does. He also realized that I have enough respect for both him and myself that I wasn’t going to make up some story about why I was speeding.

The whole thing got me thinking about respect. How just a little bit of it goes a long way. How just recognizing that a police officer, your waiter at dinner, your boss, your secretary, your teacher, your parents, your kids… they all just want a little respect.

We  all have to cross paths now and then, and we’re not always going to like one another. But let’s not ever forget that we wouldn’t be where we are today if someone didn’t show us a little respect along the way. So why not return the favor?

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