An Encounter with a NJ Cop. Has This Ever Happened to You?
I had an experience this weekend, that reinforced an old lesson taught to me by my parents when I was a kid.
The lesson is known as "The Golden Rule." It's a simple concept, "Do unto others as you you'd have done unto you."
We were helping my daughter and son-in-law move into their new apartment in Hillsborough on Saturday.
I was following my daughter's father-in-law on route 206 when I approached a merge in the road. Another car came out of nowhere, speeding up beside me, and cut me off, just missing the front end of my car.
My irrational reaction was to speed up behind the perpetrator and drive rather close behind. Was I tailgating? That's up for debate. But I did make a point of making sure the person in that car, knew I was there.
It was then that I saw the one thing we all hate to see in our rear-view mirror. Yup, the flashing red and white lights signaling me to pull over.
Here's where the Golden Rule comes into play. The Hillsborough police officer came up to my passenger side window and introduced himself. He informed me that he was stopping me because I was driving too close to the car in front of me.
Rather than project my anger toward the cop, I explained what happened, and admitted that I probably was driving too close. He asked for my credentials and went back to his car.
I expected him to return with a ticket, but he didn't. He explained that a ticket would've meant a big fine, 5 points on my license and a mandatory court date. He said, "I'm not going to do that to you." He warned me to pay closer attention, and I told him to stay safe.
I like to think that this episode turned out the way it did for a couple of reasons.
1. The Hillsborough Police Officer wasn't looking for a fight. His friendly demeaner made it impossible for me to be anything but contrite.
2. I was honest with the officer and gave him the respect he deserved. His job is to enforce the law. If I did something wrong, that's on me.
In a society where everyone seems so angry, this was a great reminder that sometimes we need to just stop and try to be civil with each other. It's a great feeling.