A Christmas Traffic Stop

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© City of Lowell

Logan Magagnotti, Writer

While scrolling through my Facebook feed, I happened to come across a video that I found very inspirational for this time of year.  Christmas is a time for happiness, cheer, family, and therefore, people tend to do more good deeds than usual.  Someone pays for a stranger’s groceries; helping prepare a Christmas meal for the the less fortunate; and local police buying gifts for unsuspecting citizens who think they’re being pulled over for minor traffic violations could be considered an example, too.  Yes, you read that correctly!  In the video link below, a police officer in Lowell, Michigan, a small town much like New Bethlehem, makes it his mission to surprise citizens and spread holiday cheer.

“Most contact police officers have with the general public is on a traffic stop, and you can find out a lot about that person in that 10-15 minute window. Whether they were having a good day, a bad day, or a horrible day. We got this idea–What if we could change that person’s day in real time? What if we could change that person’s day right now?”– Steve Bakala, Police Chief.

 

So, the Lowell Police started pulling over drivers for minor traffic violations like running a stop sign, having overly tinted windows, or speeding only five miles over the legal speed limit. After they were pulled over, the police officer would make small talk with the driver and ask if they were ready for Christmas and what not. They would ask who they were buying for that year or what they wanted for Christmas themselves.  After the police officer knew what the driver wanted, he would radio another crew of police officers at the nearby mall and tell them exactly what that driver wanted for Christmas. As the driver sat in their car nervously waiting for the police officer to return with a ticket or a citation, the mall crew would quickly purchase and wrap said gift and the police officer would return to the car with it.  “How did you you do this?” was a common question asked by most who were stopped.  The officer replied, “Well, we’ve got radios and sleighs and magic elves and stuff.”

It was a joy to watch the faces of each individual who received a gift. Some would cry, others just laughed and said thank you.  Most would ask, “Wait, are you serious?”  Some were finding it difficult to believe that a police officer could actually be that nice.  This holiday act of kindness truly shows the side of police officers that most people seem to dismiss.  I’m sure they were also relieved to hear that they weren’t actually getting a ticket, too. “This just turned my bad day into a good one,” said one woman.

I found this video extremely inspiring and loved the thought and humor put into the idea. Not only is this video showing how thoughtful people can be, but it also shows that police officers don’t just care about pulling you over to ruin your day. I hope to see more examples of this type of holiday cheer throughout the year, even when it isn’t close to Christmas.

Check out the video for yourself at Christmas Surprise Traffic Stop with Lowell Police.

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