A few months ago, in the fall, I had a jammed pack weekend. I was speaking at two events at least 30-45 minutes away from my house and Jamiel had an away game. I usually don’t make away games, but because of my schedule lately I felt I had missed too many and I needed to make this one. I get done speaking and I hit the road to Jamiel’s game which is 45 minutes in the other direction. I pass the entrance to the field, no worries though I am there all I need to do is turn around. I pull into a driveway and begin to turn around and then BOOM, my car gets stuck in reverse! So now I am halfway in this person’s driveway and halfway in the street. I can hear the game going on, so close yet so far away. I try to shift the gear and nothing. I sit there with Anissa in the backseat asking a million questions now and I’m trying to think, what in the world could be wrong?! Cars are starting to honk their horns, I’m getting irritated, Anissa has to use the bathroom and there’s a little knock on my window. “Hey, what’s going on?” I turn to look up and a little old white man is looking at me with sympathetic eyes. I explained what happened and he asked me to pop the hood. He looks under and says I don’t see anything wrong. We chuckle! He invites me to exit the car and waves traffic around me. I take a look under the hood and nod, he’s right I can’t see what’s wrong either. He then does something that will forever stick with me. He whispers in my ear, “I’m not going to leave you!” He then went on to tell me that he was sure one of his neighbors had called the police and that in this little piece of paradise that he loved to call home, the police were not too friendly towards people that looked like me.
I was terrified. I mean I’ve experienced the police being rude and aggressive with me before, but never where a person of a different race was terrified with me. I was stuck, no family, no friends, just a little old white guy whom I’d boxed in because he couldn’t exit his driveway. Someone had called the police and upon their arrival he grabbed my hand. They asked me a few questions, I’d already called a tow truck. The officer walks up. “I should really give you a ticket for this.” Out of nowhere a lady walking her dog says “Why would you do that, it’s just car trouble?!” I turn and there is a little old white lady walking her dog. She asks if I’m okay, she offers to take Anissa to the game, but I can’t let her out of my sight. The lady grabs my other hand. The officer walks away. I’m sure to run my plates. As I am still making arrangements they go check the score of the game for me, Jamiel’s team is winning. Another officer pulls up and now a few neighbors are outside. “Can you all help us move this car?” The lady says. Deafening silence as they begin to look away and return to their homes. This officer asks how he can help. We are all scratching our heads as we can’t figure out what’s wrong. I begin to google the symptoms and VOILA, I figure out the problem. The officer and I cheer as he can help me. In the meantime the first officer calls him over, I’m assuming to discuss the ticket. The officer walks back over to me shaking his head, “Ma’am you are not getting a ticket today, I will make sure of it, now let’s fix this!”
We fix my car and I am able to park on the street. I begin to cry! I look in the eyes of these strangers and they seem to completely understand. I cried because I know car trouble can cause my death, I cried because being in an unfamiliar place can lead to my death, I cried! I may never see those three people again, on that day they forever carved their place in my heart.
Have you had an interaction with the police good or bad that has impacted the way you deal with them? Leave me a comment.