Friday, March 2, 2012

A Hell of a Way to Start the Day...

So, I had an interesting traffic stop this morning. More interesting than usual.

I was sitting at one of my less frequent duck ponds looking for seatbelt violations. I saw a pickup truck cruise by and I could clearly see the seatbelt hanging down behind the driver. I maneuvered into traffic, caught up to the pickup and made a traffic stop.

The driver handed me a Utah driver license, and as is my custom with every single driver I stop I asked him if the address on his license was still his current address.

"Well, it's kind of a long story" says he.

Usually "kind of a long story" means "No. That's not my current address."

So this guy goes into an explanation of why he has a Utah driver license but he's living and working in California. About two years ago, his wife was diagnosed with cancer of the adrenal gland. By the time the doctors found it, the cancer had spread to her kidneys, liver and hip bones. It all sounded eerily familiar.

So I showed him the pink ribbon I wear on my uniform and told him the story of Mrs. Smith. We talked for a while about how cancer changes the lives of more than just the person who has it. We really had a lot in common from our respective recent pasts. He still hadn't mentioned how his wife was doing, so I asked.

She passed away in November. She was 24.

I swear I wanted to give the guy a hug, but all I could say was "Damn. I'm sorry to hear that."

I have had people use cancer (their own and others') as an excuse for their poor driving skills. I don't usually buy it. This guy didn't use it as an excuse. It was just his explanation as to why he has a Utah driver license but a local address.

I could definitely commiserate with the poor bastard. And I suddenly felt very lucky to still have Mrs. Smith.

Did I write him the seat belt ticket? Hey, I'm a traffic cop, not a Nazi.

I handed his stuff back to him, told him to buckle up, and wished him a safe return to his home in Utah. I wished there was more I could do. I walked back to my bike, saddled up, and sat there for a minute. It's kinda hard to ride away when your eyes are welling up.

Damned dust.

After that I felt an overwhelming need to call Mrs. Smith and just tell her I love her and I feel incredibly lucky to still have her.

Cancer blows...


Anonymous said...

I got some of that dust in my eyes also.

oc92649 said...

My heart goes out to you. A friend is battling stage 4 cancer right now and it's a huge load. I can't imagine how tough it is for the person and the ones closest to him/her. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Btw, I didn't realize you are a motorcycle officer until this post. From your profile pic and your previous posts, I was under the impression you were assigned to a cruiser.

Officer "Smith" said...

@ ic - I've mentioned the motor a few times, but I don't make it the focus of the blog. Also, the profile pic may or may not really be me. I do a lot of creative dis-information to keep things nice and anonymous.

I am actually assigned to a motor. I will give up that much.

Wandering Soul said...

I continue to admire the courage and strength of Mrs Smith & you through all this. Please tell her I continue to keep her in my prayers :)