I’m going to take a parenting break and share a story this week. I actually had an article ready to go, but the father got cold feet and asked me not to print his e-mail. In any case enjoy this story.
On May 14th, my 9-year-old cousin passed away. Many of you watched the video of Refoel Goldberg asking us to pray for him, but his special soul was brought back.
I decided to drive to Montreal for the funeral and offered to take anyone that wanted to join me. Three of my siblings took me up on my offer, so at around midnight we headed north in my wife’s minivan. It was a rainy and chilly night and I was a bit tired, so I wasn’t driving too fast. One of my sisters stayed awake in the passenger seat to keep me company.
A few hours in, I noticed a car tailgating me, so I switched to the right lane. I mentioned to my sister that someone was driving awfully fast in the rain, when suddenly, lights began flashing. Officer Ward pulled me over. He insisted that I was going 91 M.P.H. which would have been suicidal. My siblings all knew that I wasn’t, but I had nothing to gain by arguing.
I was handed a citation that said I was going 74 which I promptly put in the door pocket and continued the trek up. We arrived early in the morning and went to the funeral. As soon as it was over, we got back in the car and headed back. We arrived back in New York at around 7:00 PM, which meant I had been up for 36 hours straight and been driving for almost 14 of them.
I showed my wife the citation and left it on the kitchen counter. I promptly went upstairs to take a quick nap before heading back to work. During this time, my two-year-old decided to practice her art skills on the above-mentioned citation. When she finished her work, the remnants were left proudly on the floor of her room. Upon awakening, I walked into her room and looked with a mixture of horror and pride at her masterpiece. I took the tattered and scribbled pieces and decided to deal with it later.
Procrastination is a very dangerous game. A few weeks passed and I remembered that I had never repaired and dealt with it. First, I contacted James Medows who’s a traffic attorney. He’s the best according to everyone I spoke to, and he doesn’t try to make money off people if they can do the work themselves. Mr. Medows told me to first mail the ticket in and take it from there. I attempted to tape it back together, but my art skills are equivalent to that of a salted slug. Thank goodness my wife saved the day, and using some Harry Potter wizardry, repaired (I think the proper spell is “Repario”) my citation (Exhibits A and B).
I mailed it in with a note apologizing for my tardiness and an explanation for the scribbles and mended work, along with a photo of the pepertrator (Exhibit C). Apparently, Linda G. McMahon from the Lake George Town Court does not have a two-year-old climbing around her office, since I got her response 3 days later.
The first thing I noticed was that she reprinted the citation (Exhibit D), and also sent me back the original so we could keep the “Artwork for framing” (Exhibit E). She also included some other notes which showed the supporting deposition. Not only that, but she downloaded and included my driving abstract free of charge (See the post-it notes on Exhibit E) to save me time along with clear instructions (Exhibit F).
The end result of my citation, was that they downgraded it to a parking ticket. I had to pay $100, which is exactly why Mr. Medows recommended I do it myself instead of hiring an attorney. In any case, there are a few important items that can be learned from this story.
First of all, if you leave important documents lying around, your kids will find them and mutilate them. Especially if you leave them on the kitchen counter. Second of all, if you do get pulled over by the police, even if you’re 100% right, take a deep breath. If you argue or get upset, you won’t win, and it only makes things worse. Lastly, Linda G. McMahon is a thoughtful and understanding court clerk. She went above and beyond, and I’m very grateful for her assistance. If you do get pulled over, try to make sure it's in Lake George and make sure the County Clerk is involved in some capacity. If anyone knows how to reach her, you can let her know that I’m very grateful.
Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos,
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.