I’m Katie, and I’ve got a lead foot.
There. I said it. The Bible is right. Confession is good for the soul.
Of course, when I got pulled over (by a motor, no less), I was ready to accept my due, as I was clearly over the speed limit. I called the Hubby while on the stop, and he asked why I didn’t “drop his name”. So, when the officer came back with his filled out ticket, I jokingly said “my husband, a motor in Town, tells me to take what’s coming to me”.
You could just see his tough motor exterior soften.
“Your husband? Not your sister’s old roommate’s brother? Or your brother-in-law? He’s your husband? *sigh* You’re family…”
Long story short, the City he works for audits all tickets once written, so he had no choice but to submit it.
We ended up running into the guy at a concert a couple of months later, after I’d had my arraignment, and he actually apologized to me for making me go through the rigamarole of going to court (twice). I laughed it off, but truthfully, it was a PITA to line of childcare, get my butt dressed and looking respectable to stand in front of a magistrate (twice).
Today was my trial. I dressed in a snappy outfit, did mah hairs, and dropped my kids with a friend at a park to play. I accidentally showed up early, and watched as the arraignments were dealt with before us “trial folk”.
But this isn’t about me.
There was this man. There was nothing super special about him. He was dressed in a pressed, understated brown button down shirt that you could see his hunched frame through. His pants were much the same. Brown. Non-descript. There is no reason I should have noticed this man.
But I did.
He was in the third group to be arraigned. He’d been ticketed for failure to display his registration tags. He had them, they just weren’t on the car. He had brought his valid registration and signed ticket as evidence of correction, and the judge levied a $25 Proof of Correction fee against him. The man quietly asked for a waiver. The judge replied that he was not able to waive that fee, but that it was due within 2 business days (Thursday at 3pm was the deadline).
The man hunched his bony shoulders, hung his head, and exited the courtroom.
And I got flush.
I tried to shake it off. I felt fidgety. I felt scared. I felt called. I felt moved.
It was so clearly put on my heart: Pay for that man’s $25 fine.
I tried to shake it off. I had been listening to the judge dole out $150 fines, $225 fines, even a $600+ fine for various offenses.
I kept trying to talk myself out of it… “we’re doing a new food thing, so you’ll need that $25.” “the Hubby would freak”. “You’re just being a sap.” “You should have looked at his shoes, because that would tell you of his real *need*”.
I even checked my wallet. A $20 and a $10, but no $5.
Well, that’s a sign… I should only do it if I had exact change.
But again, I felt flush. I felt anxious. I felt this energy coursing through my body.
And I got up.
I didn’t mean to. But I couldn’t sit there.
I found the man, standing in line at the clerk’s office, and after glancing at his feet (black socks and well worn flip flops, obviously trying to look like enclosed shoes) I asked if I could talk to him.
Now, this man doesn’t know me from Adam (or would it be Eve?). But he followed me into a small room, just off the hallway. (for safety and visibility, I stood in the doorway, while we was in the room). I told him
“I don’t know why, but I feel like I am supposed to pay your fine. I don’t know your situation and why you asked for a waiver for the $25, but I just feel like I need to do this.”
He was speechless.
A few silent seconds pass, and he tells me he doesn’t know how to accept it, and he chokes on the words to do just that.
He tells me he cared for his wife, who died of brain cancer 2 years ago, and he was profoundly affected by her death. He was in an accident a few months later and was unable to work. He gets $208 in food stamps and $154 in disability each month. And that’s it.
He asked if he could send me a thank you card or something, but I told him “thanks” would just be accepting the gift, and allowing me to pray for him.
So, he did. And I did.
I don’t know if I changed this man’s life. I don’t know if I brought him to Christ, or had any sort of profound impact on him. But I know, without a doubt, that I was obedient to God’s message to me.
And I thank Him for my lead foot, because I wouldn’t have met “John” if I had never gotten that ticket (and consequently cruise control, because it’s how I’ve been staying safe and slow)
(and for the record, the Hubby didn’t freak)