I drive a Nissan Leaf. In California, owning certain environmentally friendly cars, like the Leaf, gives you access to the car pool lanes. You have to get special stickers to put on your car so that police officers know you are legally in the carpool lane even if you’re a solo driver. I have those stickers, placed on my car right where the law requires — on the passenger side of the rear bumper and on the rear panel on the passenger side.
This morning on my drive to work I was where I was legally authorized to be — in the carpool lane. A CHP officer pulled me over. My heart rate went up. Panic set in. I hate that reaction to getting pulled over, but it’s a reality. I knew there was nothing I had done, but a cop pulls you over, who knows what’s going to happen. I pull over to the shoulder, the cop walks up to my window. “I’m sorry, I thought the stickers were supposed to be on the other side. I didn’t see them. You can go.”
Are you kidding me? There’s a sticker on the rear bumper. When he pulled behind me, he was behind me for several seconds before he turned his lights on. He could have, should have seen the sticker on that bumper. This is the third time in a row that I have been pulled over by a cop based on a mistake made by the cop and I’m tired of it. That nervousness and unsettling fear that makes no sense. Why should I be so nervous when an officer of the law pulls me over?
But, that’s not the end of it.
As I pulled off the shoulder and back on to the freeway, within about 30 seconds, the tire pressure warning light lit up on my dashboard. By the time I got to my parking garage about 10 minutes later, I had a flat tire. Thanks to something I must have driven over while on the shoulder, because the cop couldn’t see the stickers on my car.
But, that’s not the end of it.
Leafs don’t have spare tires. So, you get a flat, you need a tow. Fortunately, Nissan provides free roadside assistance. So, I called and got the tow set up. I got a text indicating that the ETA was 9:53 a.m. Knowing that the tow truck would never make it into the garage, I went out to the entrance at 9:30 to make sure I didn’t miss the tow truck. When 10:10 came by and no tow truck, I called the towing company. “The tow truck driver went to the parking garage but couldn’t get in because of the clearance, so he left and he’s gonna call you later.”
I’m sorry, but are you f’in’ kidding me?
“I’ve been out here since 9:30 waiting for a tow truck and there has been NO tow truck that has driven by. I know there isn’t sufficient clearance. So, I’m out here to catch the driver when he gets here so we can figure out where I should move my car so he can hook it up. There has been NO tow truck.”
“Just a minute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . we’ll have somebody out there in 20 minutes.”
Which of course turned into about 50 minutes, but eventually the tow truck driver showed up and got me and my car to the dealer. Who put me back on a shuttle back to work and then picked me up at the end of the day to get me back to my car.
And $177 later, I have a new tire I didn’t need because of a cop who made a mistake. And I should look at it that way. I know that. Mistakes happen and bad things happen. I know this. When I was in law school, one of my least favorite classes was Torts because it was all about finding fault and somebody to blame and somebody to pay every time something goes wrong and I hate that. Accidents happen. People make mistakes. We should turn the other cheek. But I’m having a hard time doing that. Like I said, three times now I’ve been pulled over because the cop made a mistake. Today was a day I couldn’t afford to miss 4-5 hours of work. Just too much going on, too much work to get done. And I couldn’t get it done because of this guys mistake. And I’m out $177 because of it.
I’d like a do over please. Anybody have the power to grant that?