Last week I was told of an event that helped me regain a little faith in humanity.
The story went that a Queensland police officer had pulled over a car for rolling on bald tyres, but instead of giving them a defect to further compound their financial problems, he made them follow him to a tyre shop and bought them four new tyres - with his own money - and let them on their way.
I managed to get a hold of those involved (we've changed their names for this story, at their request) and thought it very worthwhile to share their story so that we can all appreciate that despite the nightmare stories of insanely strict levels of traffic enforcement, there are plenty of good cops out there with a heart.
It would not be unreasonable to say that Queensland’s Traffic Police are not known for having hearts of gold. 'Sarah' thought exactly that when she was pulled over by a Queensland Police officer last week.
Getting a traffic ticket is definitely not what Sarah needed in what has been, without doubt, a very traumatic couple of years. Sarah, a single mother of two, is battling a brain tumour. Her seven-year-old son, 'Mark', has Down syndrome and can only communicate via an iPad.
Sarah’s car was badly damaged after being crashed into by an uninsured drunk driver. She only had third-party insurance for her own car, and the car of her 19-year-old son, 'Ed', is not exactly in tip-top condition. Her partner left seven years ago, immediately after finding out that Mark had Down syndrome.
Unable to work while having some fairly serious medical treatment, money has been pretty tight for Sarah and her family. When Mark's iPad stopped working, it didn't just mean he couldn't play on it - it meant he was unable to communicate and Sarah needed to get it fixed. Quickly.
The family was on the way to the shops, in Ed's 1996 Ford Laser, to see if the iPad could be fixed when they were stopped by a Queensland police officer. Let's call him 'Jerry'. He had spotted the car traveling with bald tyres, pulled them over, and started to take some details.
Now, CarAdvice readers would agree that the boys and gals in blue have a job to do to keep the roads safe, but they can be somewhat overzealous in giving us tickets that can be accompanied by very hefty fines. They are not known for random acts of kindness and generosity.
The officer in question has more than two decades of experience on the road and he has heard plenty of tales from folk who are not exactly thrilled about a speeding or traffic ticket. But after listening to Sarah explain what she and her family were going through, he made a very rare exception. Instead of handing them a ticket for $252 for worn out tyres, he followed them to the nearest Bob Jane outlet and purchased four new tyres. And paid for them himself.
A copper putting his hand in his wallet, and not to bring out his ticket book! Sarah was absolutely amazed and said she almost didn’t believe it was happening.
The officer told CarAdvice, "it is not much but getting them some new tyres just felt like the right thing to do. There are people doing it very tough out there and hopefully, this can make a small difference. This family have got a hard road ahead of them”.
His friends even managed to chip in for a $100 fuel voucher for the family.
From all of us here at CarAdvice, Jerry, you’re a legend. Share with us some of your heartwarming police stories in the comments below.