I was driving along on a city street in my car, speaking, hands free, to a friend in California. As we were talking a Ford Model T pulled in front of me.
The Model T was in amazing condition and it toodled along in front of me as we pulled up to a light where some construction was underway.
I told my friend on the phone I was going to send him a photo of the car when we came to a stop.
When we came to the next intersection beside the construction, the light turned red. Taking advantage of my opportunity, I reached down to grab my phone to take a photo. I lined it up when there was a knock on my driver side window.
I looked over and saw a smiling police officer asking me to roll down my window. He told me there was a $600 fine for having any electronics in your hand while you were behind the wheel of a car. He then looked at me and asked what I was doing.
I told him I was taking a photo of the amazing old car in front of us. He agreed it was a pretty cool vehicle. He let me take my photo and I immediately put my phone down.
I thanked him and he wished me a good day and when the light changed, off I went… forgetting I was still on the phone with my friend in California.
He had overheard the entire exchange. His first question was “Was that a cop you were speaking to?”
I told him it was, because I had picked up my phone to take the photo. He was astonished.
“Oh my god,” he exclaimed, “even your cops are Canadian!”
I learned a couple lessons – picking up your phone is breaking the law and can be costly.
And if you are nice and respectful to police, or anyone, they will generally be nice and respectful to you. But I already knew that. As my friend pointed out, it is so Canadian.
I expect some of my friend’s shock was a reflection of the policing issues currently going on in his country. The judgement of the officer I encountered was good. He de-escalated the situation; he reminded me of my responsibility; and, he reinforced his position as an authority looking out for the safety of all. Excellent police procedure.
I left feeling fairly dealt with – a lesson learned. If being polite is a national trait, I am all for it!