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The Speeding Ticket

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?

When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform. "Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

"Hello, Jack." No smile. "Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids." "Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit - just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"

"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."

Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

"What'd you clock me at?" "Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

"Please, Jack, in the car." Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door.

Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again. A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip.

"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror.

Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?

Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket.

Jack began to read:


"Dear Jack,

Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again.

A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me.

And be careful, Jack, my son is all I have left."
Bob
Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness, and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived. Life is precious. Handle with care.

This is an important message. Please pass it along to your friends.

Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only things recalled by their maker. Funny how you can send a thousand jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the sanctity of life, people think twice about sharing. Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them. Pass this on, you may save a life. Maybe not, but we'll never know if we don't try. Only Love Prevails.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


JOAN'S NOTE:

Dear Parent,

Are you a fast driver? That fact doesn't necessarily infer "unsafe." But do you consistently drive more quickly than the speed limit posted? I know, I know. There is always so much running around to do these hectic days: drop off at school, pick up for ballet, music, sports, scouts, then get everybody back home again for meals, homework and, finally, rest.

For a moment, stop. Consider this. How would you feel if a child of yours was no longer with you because of a speeding driver? Then ask yourself how you would feel if you were the one responsible for taking away the life of someone else's child? Heartsick? At the very least, that!

One Saturday afternoon long, long ago, my Bill was driving along a neighborhood street. He always was a cautious man and, this time, it saved the life of a child. A little boy darted out between two parked cars right into the path of Bill's car. Lucky for all, the child only had a bruise on his shoulder. But Bill came home and threw up. Then he sat in shock for hours, thanking God and all the Angels in Heaven for saving him from hurting that little boy. It took him several days to get over it, but if you'd asked him about it twenty years after the fact, he could still summon the terror and pain he'd felt, and his gratitude that the child was unhurt.

Take care. Drive safely. All the rushing around we do every day, in the name of enriching the lives of our children, will never measure up to the value of a child's life that might be snuffed out because s/he wasn't looking and you were driving too fast to react quickly enough.

Please don't condemn yourself to a lifetime of sorrow, should you hurt a child with your vehicle. Be smart. Be careful. Drive safely. Thank you.

Love,
Joan


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