Affirmation

I know I said I wasn’t going to update until this weekend, but something happened to me today that I wanted to share.

There aren’t many times in one’s career, particularly in LE, that one feels as satisfied and affirmed to such a degree as I was today. Allow me to explain…
Today, I was notified by Dispatch that I had a phone call pending from a woman that I did not recognize. The detail offered no further information other than she asked for me specifically and refused to provide anything else. Great. These typically don’t bode well. I checked her name in one of our many databases and saw that she’s got a decently (and by decently, I mean more than your average) healthy history of citations…the last of which was issued last week…more than likely by yours truly for a seatbelt. *Sigh* Fantastic.
Always looking for some entertainment, however, I made the call on speaker anticipating an ear full and wanting to share the love with a couple co-workers. Here’s how the call went:
MC: Hey, I’m looking for Seatbelt Sally.
SS: This is she.
MC: Hi, this is MC with Town PD, what can I do for you?
SS: You gave me a seatbelt ticket last week.
MC (anticipating drama and sharing a knowing look with the co-workers): Uh-huh.
SS: I just wanted to say thank you.
MC (waiting for the other shoe to drop): Ok.
SS: Earlier this week, I was involved in a pretty serious collision. The only reason I was wearing my seatbelt was because you gave me a ticket for not wearing it last week. If I hadn’t been wearing it earlier this week, I would have been killed.
MC: Are you alright?
SS: Yes. It was scary. I think you saved my life.
That was it, in a nutshell. Apparently, she was driving a small coupe. You know, one of those cars you can pick up, rub against the carpet, and it takes off by itself? She hit a fairly large obstruction on the freeway (I didn’t take the crash so I’m more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt here) at no fault of her own. Her vehicle suffered major front end damage, almost like she hit the center median at freeway speed. She suffered a laceration on one of her arms. According to reliable sources and her own statements, if she hadn’t been wearing her seatbelt, she would have been ejected through her front windshield and most assuredly been killed.
Quick physics lesson behind seatbelts. There was this guy once, Newton something-or-other, that said that a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force (I’m paraphrasing to avoid you science dorks getting all worked up). If her car suddenly goes from, say, 65 to 0, and she is not strapped to said car, where do you think her body is going to go? (Insert Jeopardy theme). What is straight ahead? Ding, ding….until, of course, it is acted upon by gravity…and the freeway.
I told SS how much I appreciated her phone call and disconnected. The truly amusing part of this is my two co-workers, who were listening, turned around and both said something to the effect of (and in stereo), “That’s gotta go on the blog!” Hilarious.
I can’t tell you how powerful it was to hear someone with genuine conviction tell you that they feel you are responsible for saving their life. Now, I’m not operating under the illusion that I actually saved this woman’s life. She may disagree, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is she learned a simple and relatively financially inexpensive lesson that saved her life. She made the smart and, ultimately, life-sparing decision to put her seatbelt on. I couldn’t be happier to have been the impetus behind her decision, but, at the end of the day, she deserves the credit for being a smart, safe, and responsible driver.
On a personal note, this past week has been so incredibly affirming for me. Between all of your support, well wishes, concerns and this phone call, I feel incredibly blessed. So, thank you, SS, and all of you, my supportive readers, for keeping me motivated!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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22 thoughts on “Affirmation

  1. That was great dude. I'm glad I was part of it. I thought for sure it was going to be, "Yeah, thanks for giving me a ticket. My insurance dropped me and I can't pay my rent. You ruined my life!" I was floored! That will be one of those incidents that I don't forget.

  2. Just when you think you have heard it all.

    Welcome back, I thought you were MIA.

    Thanks for the post

  3. Back in the days when I was patrolling and issuing citations, I cited the wife of a local convenience store three times for non-use of child restraints. She would wear her belt, but didn't make her 2year old (since that upset him).

    A couple of days after the third ticket, when I went into the store, the owner came around the corner to give me a big hug. He told me that his wife had decided to finally get a car seat for their child and start using it. The next day, she was involved in a roll-over accident! Both mom and child came out without injuries!

  4. Great post – the issue of seatbelts has been on my mind lately…i have a blog post on the subject as well. Welcome back, MC!

  5. Here I thought it was going to be a call from the higher ups… telling you not to blog!

    WHEW!!!!

    That is so flipping cool!!
    -Dispatcher

  6. I make folks like this tell 5 strangers that a seat belt saved their life.

    One was a UPS driver. Could have been messed up bad, but actually wore his belt and walked away.

    5 strangers.

    Nice job MC, you saved a life without batting an eyelash. Do it again!

  7. That's great to hear. I'm glad she listened to you.

    I have explained to my daughters that when we are in the car and the car is going 65mph, everything in the car is going 65mph too. And that it would really hurt to run into something at that speed. Ergo, we wear our seatbelts. (Even the two who are old enough to legally be in a belt only are in booster seats, because they fit better that way.)

  8. I will always remember the thing a state patrollman once said regarding the use of seat-belts, "I've never had to unbuckle a dead body." Good for you.

  9. @Valar Morghulis: I've unbuckled dead people. I bet most Medics have.

    Now dont get me wrong, I totally believe in seatbelts. They save way more lives than if not worn.

    I like your blog a lot Motorcop. Glad your staying around. =)

  10. The Google ad is for replacement seat belts–how appropriate!

    I wish you'd been there to give my mother a ticket for not wearing her seatbelt. She got ejected in a rollover. I'd been nagging her for years–but who listens to a kid?

  11. Thank you- my story is "just" having EXsmokers tell me why they quit- I like the one about telling five strangers.
    How about replacing seatbelts? a relative fell asleep and hit the ditch- seatbelt failed(on a 91 honda) after rubbing a long term memory into his chest and hips- what should I do with the belts on my
    94 GT convertible Mustang 5.0 (and those stop signs still dissappear too fast)? The airbags are new thanks to a friendly tall rat. The relative had no real damage(just out of surgery to patch a zygomatic fracture),
    AND if I have not lost your attention… where might I find advice on avoiding the wildlife? I went over a possum last week and this morning( NINE AM!) a doe walks across in front of me – I am probably not much over the limit on a 2 lane in city limits(55mph – so says the signage)perhaps there3 is some clue-ful information out there?

  12. This story reminds me of an experience I had as a CPR instructor in college. I was teaching infant CPR to a group of EMT students (most of whom were taking the class so that it would look good on their med school applications) and got a total idiot.

    When explaining how to hold an infant I'd usually tell guys to "hold the baby like a football," meaning "cradle the baby to your chest." Well, he stuck the doll under an armpit, and then looked back expectantly at me. Okay, not the brightest tool in the shed, but I would have let it go if he'd been competent from there on out. But he never seemed to be listening to me and he gave the impression that he really could care less. So I made him run more drills than the others, which he huffed about. Anyway, because of that and other interactions with him, I considered him to be one of the most useless students I'd had.

    But then two months later while shopping at Walgreens, he came upon a hysterical mother and a baby choking on hard candy, and he saved that baby's life. By the time the ambulance got there, he'd cleared the baby's airway and she was breathing on her own.

    I'd thought that teaching him had been wasted effort, but against all my expectations, he performed exactly how I taught him and he was responsible for saving a life. It was a good feeling.

  13. I understand the overwhelming public safety viewpoint over personal responsibility when it comes to drunk driving, hence ticket as many drunks as you find.

    I do not recognize the public NEED to force somebody to do something which impacts only them. Sure, not wearing a seatbelt is stupid and one did safe my life once, but how does MY decision whether or not to wear one impact public safety so much that the state feels compelled to be my nanny? Next we'll have the mayor of NYC trying to limit food choices for its residents. Oops….

  14. last i heard the overall seat belt usage number is about 85% despite all the efforts to increase it. i cannot help but wonder just how much better traffic would be if only 85% of drivers didn’t use their ignition.