Before the concert, Terry picked up some friends in Marin County. On the way back to San Francisco, everyone in his crowded VW bus was already tripping on LSD as he got to the Golden Gate Bridge. THE VOLKSWAGEN TYPE 2, T1, HAS BEEN IN PRODUCTION SINCE 1950. IT IS COMMONLY KNOWN AS A VW BUS, VW TRANSPORTER OR KOMBI. WHEN CUSTOM DESIGNED IN THE PSYCHEDELIC DAYS , IT WAS CALLED A HIPPIE BUS, HIPPIE VAN OR HIPPIEMOBILE.
At the crest of the bridge, the piercing sound of a police siren got Terry's attention. In the rear view mirror, he saw a patrol car zooming up from behind. He stopped in the left lane. The gruff officer chose to ignore the billowing marijuana aroma and said in a southern accent, "Son. Do you realize how fast you were going?" Terry tried to come off as innocently as possible without insulting the man's intelligence and shrugged, "I dunno, 65 maybe 70?" The officer said, "Son, you were going eleven miles per hour. Now tell me, are you too drunk to drive this vehicle safely off the bridge?" Terry smiled internally and said, "Yes, I'm too drunk." The officer told Terry to squeeze into the back. The squad car was temporarily abandoned as the policeman got into the VW's driver seat. He lectured Terry on his responsibility to other motorists and his own passengers as he drove them off the bridge. After issuing a warning, he made Terry promise not to drive until he sobered up.
Another "kind-cop" story happened when I worked at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget, (1982-1984). My friend Mateo was going through the divorce wringer and came out with only the clothes on his back. A year later, in a move that he described as; mental masturbation, he scrounged up every cent he could and bought a used Corvette. This selfish pleasure helped him achieve his life-long dream of owning a sports car and zooming it through the desert after work, (5:AM).DECEMBER 1982, MATEO PULLS UP AT MY CONDO WEARING NOTHING BUT HIS NEW 'VETTE AND A SMILE.
The approaching officers couldn't hold back their smiles. After all the paperwork checked-out, Mateo was told he was lucky he had cute kids. But if he was ever caught going that fast again, nothing would help him.
Last week I had a "kind-cop" experience of my own. My wife and I took Andrew and two of his friends to play tourist, in Manhattan. We started with window shopping in Greenwich Village. After lunch, we took the subway to Rockefeller Center. Along Fifth Avenue we made several stops including the Nintendo and Apple Stores.THE ALLURE OF RIDING THE SUBWAY HASN'T CHANGED IN 30+ YEARS. GUYS ARE STILL EATING OUT OF TRASHCANS, THERE'S NO SHORTAGE OF FOLKS TALKING TO THEM SELF, MEN IN TRENCH COATS ON SUNNY DAYS WILL ALWAYS LOOK SUSPICIOUS AND VARIOUS RELIGIOUS CULTS AND BEGGARS ARE EVERYWHERE. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, WE SAW NO RATS, MICE, ROACHES OR OTHER PESTILENCE.
Rush hour was over when we re-traced our steps back to the car. We decided to swing by Ground Zero on our way to Little Italy. After we paid our respects, we were going north on the Westside Drive. I ran through a yellow light, side by side with a taxi on my left. A half-block up, there was an unexpected traffic light and two policemen. I found myself in a right turn only lane and blocked by the cab. I was forced to make the right. While turning, I read the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel sign. I saw a third cop, a sergeant and pulled over. I called out ti him, "I don't want to go to Brooklyn." The sergeant smirked, "Nobody does." The other two policemen came over and one said, "If you didn't want to go in the tunnel, you should have gone straight." I said, "I was in a right turn only lane." He said, "We wouldn't have stopped you." The other cop said, "Well, you can't stay here." I joked, "Could you help me back out?" And they did. One went back onto the Westside Drive and held up traffic. The other officer guided me from the back and the sergeant remained at my side and orchestrated the whole move...very cool.
So whether its Veteran's Day or not...regardless of your politics, never forget there are dedicated individuals serving us around the world and around the corner. They are doing a job that few of us could ever imagine our self doing...so please appreciate their work and remember that they are people too.