Here’s one of my greatest moments of shame:
Just after I started college I became a Police Reserve Officer in the local town. This included a police uniform. One night I was en route to my first ride-along, and en route to the station had to change my route due to construction. As such, I was somewhat lost and trying to figure out how to get to the station in a city with which I was still unfamiliar.
In my distraction, I turned left on a green light…in front of an oncoming car. My car, the rt front crunched, was facing in the unwittingly correct direction, but facing oncoming traffic due to the impact of the other vehicle.
So there I was, in my uniform, getting out of my wrecked car and asking the people whose car I wrecked also if they were OK. This was before the wide usage of cell phones, so I, in my uniform, crossed the street to call the police.
The man came to the door after his children had made much of the fact that an apparent Police Officer was at his door. He grinned broadly, seeing the accident across the street, and more broadly still when I revealed I was not a witness, but involved. He called 911 for me in his foyer and then joked with the disptacher. When he hung up, he asked what happened and I told him.
He asked me, “Was it your fault?” I hung my head and admitted that it was. He just chuckled and I thanked him and went back across the street where the officer was already taking down the info for the other party.
(as an aside…the man at whose home I had been I later learned was pretty much the biggest defense attorney in town).
So I went to my judgment, in my uniform. I was beating myself up, remembering the speech from the Sergeant “When you are in uniform you behave professionally…” etc. Nope. Couldn’t describe causing an accident as “professional behavior”.
The officer asked me to sit in the squad and when I went to sit in the rear he directed me to the front passenger side. He obtained my information there and as I looked at my car, which we were facing, I asked him if he could recommend a repair shop. Then I asked if he could give me a ride to the station. (I had no desire to return to my dorm only to mope around).
He said dryly, "Sure, I guess you’d need one. " Pause…
. “Actually, you were assigned to ride with me tonight.”
I thought I woudl die, and then he said, “But the worst part about it is that I have to give you a ticket!”
I am still remembered in that town as the only Reserve to total her car on the way to a ride along. :o