Last week, I headed to traffic court to defend myself for NOT running the yellow arrow light that the police officer ticketed me for this past July.
Several things came together to make for a memorable experience.
I was feeling physically rotten, which was the beginning of a very bad cold and totally losing my voice. I barely made it through Seminary being able to talk and my voice was fading by the minute. I hoped it would last long enough to speak in front of the judge and plead my case.
As I arrived, the parking meters would not accept Debit or Credit Cards. All I had was a $20 bill and tons of change from the previous week's garage sale. I started to enter coin after coin until a message popped up that I had entered the maximum number of coins allowed. That amount bought me 2.5 hours, which was most likely not enough time, but I had no choice but to leave and head to the courtroom.
There were about 100 cases scheduled for that session of court. The judge began with a roll call to note who was present, whose deputy was present, and who had attorneys present to defend them. When he called my name, I could barely squeak out "present" with any sound. In addition, my deputy was in the building and would be joining our session of court in time to present his case against me. Any case that the deputy did not show up was automatically dismissed and the defendant was able to leave with no fine, fees, and points. This was not the case for me.
However, as the judge called my name, one of my friends, who is a partner in a prominent law firm, heard my name and came back to sit by me on my bench. He never goes to traffic court but was there to defend one of his partners' husbands against a traffic ticket. He explained that he did not spend $100,000 on Law School to spend his days in traffic court, in fact, he never goes to traffic court. Well, he was there for me and it was my lucky day. He asked me if I wanted him to go speak with the deputy about my ticket. I said, sure, anything he could do would be appreciated. He asked for my permission to discuss the case and off he went with my permission. I wasn't sure what would happen.
Soon the attorney returned and sat next to me. He whispered, "It is done, all taken care of" The judge is going to call your name and I will go up and get the paperwork. Follow me and you will be free to go. Sure enough, the judge completed roll call and then said he had some updates to some of the previous cases before he started the official hearings. The first name he called, Shauna Hostetler, case dismissed at officer's request. WOW. I followed the attorney, got the paperwork, and we left together. I thanked him and was on my way with a very grateful and relieved heart.
It turned out I had enough time on my meter (would not have been the case if I had to stay for the entire session-translation-I would have had a parking fine waiting for me) and I did not have to use my voice, which was fading by the minute.
If my case would have gone to trial and I was found completely innocent, I still would have had to pay $160 court fees. However, because the ticket was dismissed at the officer's request, I had no court fees, no fines, no points, etc.
I know this attorney was there to help someone else and he did not have to put his neck on the line for me, but he did and I am so grateful. I decided that I should show my gratitude by helping someone else have something they need. So I am planning to provide Thanksgiving Dinner for a family that is not planning to celebrate Thanksgiving due to lack of money.
It is the going out the way for others, the "putting our necks on the line", that warms my heart and gives me great joy in the giving and receiving. We never know when an opportunity will come to serve or be served, but I am grateful to have been on both ends recently.
Case dismissed AT OFFICERS REQUEST!
And then, I lost my voice completely....