Once Upon a Time in the West: honesty is the best policy

Many years ago my father helped me to choose and buy my first car.  He tried to talk me into getting a little boxy looking, sensible Toyota.  It was tan in color, had good gas mileage, four doors, the engine was sound, and did I mention sensible?  The list went on, as my dad tried to convince me, but I wasn’t listening, because the tomboy in me wanted a fast car.

We shopped every day after dad got home from work.  It took a whole week, and then I spotted it…

It was a 1967 Pontiac Firebird

Mine was silver, but this is the only picture I could find of the late 60’s car!  Rare as hen’s teeth as they say…

My Silver Bullet I called her and she had a straight 6, 3.8 liter engine, with an overhead cam.  I read this morning that it wasn’t as muscly as the Camaro of the same vintage, and therefore not as fast, but the concept was right out of race car technology,  and driving it made me feel I was all that and a bag of chips!

I suppose it was just as well that the car wasn’t as fast as the V8 Camaro, or I might have found myself in bigger trouble than I did at 2:30 in the morning…

The following, though a bit embarrassing, is true.  I include all the particulars because otherwise you wouldn’t understand my urgent need for speed, and besides, you just can’t make this stuff up.

~*~

I was working a graveyard shift at a plastics factory and had already been given a warning about being tardy.   So that night when I took my lunch break, I was devastated to find that I had gotten my period and needed to go home.  Finding  the foreman I explained my problem, and said I would need to go home to change.   To which he replied:

“You should have been prepared.  If you are late, then you are fired.”

Not exactly the empathy I was expecting or looking for!  Running for the door and out to my car, I got in and sped for home.  Now I grant you I knew I was going too fast, but I needed that job.  Checking for the police in my rear view mirror I suddenly realized there actually was one behind me!  I took my foot off the gas and tried to coast down to a more reasonable speed.  After all, I didn’t want to be obvious about it.  Well, it all took too long.  I hadn’t decreased my speed sufficiently, and so it was, that when I pulled into the left turn lane to stop for the light…

MY CAR SKIDDED ON SOME WATER AND INTO THE INTERSECTION.

Still trying to “be cool,”  I back up into the turn lane and notice that although the Policeman was still there, his lights were not on.  Far out! I thought, He’s gonna let me go!

Not so fast.  As soon as the light changed, I pulled forward, and on went his lights.  Completing my turn, I did the only reasonable thing I could do, I cruised up to the curb and stopped.  Suddenly, I realized that there was another patrol car in front of me going the wrong way on the street.   It pulled right in front of me and blocked my path!  I was terrified.   I was going to be arrested!

I quickly turned off the engine, rolled down my window, and waited for the officer.  In a very cool voice, he said:

“Do you know how fast you were going?”

Me:  No, but I know I was going too fast but my speedometer is broken and it was broken when I purchased the car and I have been back three times to get it fixed only they won’t fix it and I am on my lunch break and I got my period and I had to get home to change and if I am late one more time I’m going to get fired!  (Need I mention that I was crying at this point?)

The Officer:   Well, I clocked you at 110 miles in a 50 MPH zone.  I have already called for backup, because I didn’t know the particulars, and therefore I will have to give you the ticket.  However, since you have been so honest with me, I will write it for 65 in a 50 MPH zone, and I won’t have to take you to jail.

I was mortified.

Well, my court date came and I was prepared.  I had my paperwork from the purchase of my car, and the repair tickets that were denied by the car lot stating they wouldn’t fix my speedometer or my squeaky breaks, because I purchased the car “As-is.”

When the judge called my name I went forward, knees knocking, answered his questions, told him my story, and then added the bit about trying to get the car dealer to fix the speedometer and brakes.  I held up the receipt for the purchase of the car, and the work orders they had repeatedly denied.

He asked the bailiff to bring the paperwork to him.  Quickly reading it over, he looked up and said:

“This is clearly a safety issue!  Your ticket is dismissed, and I am ordering the Dealer to fix your car!”

To which I heard several exclamations from the men in the room, but I didn’t care.   Not only was I not fined, but my car was going to be fixed!

I grew up a little bit after the incident, was always “prepared” at work,  and have since taken a less reckless approach to driving.   I also realized that whatever the circumstance, it is always best to tell the truth when you get pulled over.  No matter how embarrassing it is!

~*~

A special thank you to Julie of Wings and Things for her post that inspired me today.

~*~

NOTE:  For the gearheads, car historians, or just the just plain curious souls in the group, you can read more about the genesis and evolution of the straight 6 overhead cam engine  HERE .   Apparently, it was the brainchild of John DeLorean.  Who knew?  I didn’t till this morning.  😉

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25 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in the West: honesty is the best policy

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    What a great story (and good for you for getting things straightened out with that dishonest carlot!) but, too funny, my first car purchase was also a (very used) Firebird w/ straight six!
    John Delorean – now there’s a fellow who got the short end of the stick – did more for GM’s Pontiac division back in the 70’s than anyone else on the planet [and, IMO The DeLorean DMC 12, (1981- 82) is still one of the coolest cars ever built!]!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeLorean_DMC-12

    • pixilated2 says:

      I agree, Deb, but he sure shot himself in the foot when he got mixed up in that drug trafficking mess. 😛 I got mine when it was still relatively new and under $1,000. Those days are history!

  2. Lindy Barnes says:

    Lynda, the only thing I can do is laugh. No, that’s not quite true because I can smile – at your honesty and your naivete’ at the time. I’m glad you weren’t arrested, car impounded, dad called to bail you out. Jeesh – it could have been awful. 😀

    • pixilated2 says:

      Lindy, I didn’t get out much in those days, and you are correct, I was painfully naive. 😉 I have often wondered what would have happened if it had been a boy driving in a similar fashion. !!! 😦 !!!

    • pixilated2 says:

      Annie, it might well have led to trouble if my father hadn’t been so strict! My inclination was to be wild, and “If my dad finds out he’ll beat me!” kept me from doing a lot of things my peers were doing at the time…

    • pixilated2 says:

      Ha-ha! Tom, I had to look up “cracking” to get your meaning. Thank you, and I am glad you enjoyed it! You know, about ten years later I found a red one, just like the one in the picture, to replace the Silver Bullet! I enjoyed it just as much, but of course drove her more carefully about town. 😉

  3. victoriaaphotography says:

    Amazing, a judge actually letting you off, believing your story AND directing the car be fixed by someone else.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Victoria, I think the turn of events played out the way the did, because of my tell all honesty, and the fact that it was against the law for a dealership to sell a car that had “safety issues.” Speedometers and brakes are definitely safety issues! 😕

  4. diannegray says:

    I absolutely love this story! I think it’s wonderful that the judge deemed you not guilty and ordered the car be fixed. It’s restored my faith in human nature (and the justice system)! 😀

  5. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

    we received our first rain a few days ago, and we lost power as well. tonight i am playing catchup, and what a great story this is. i need no other bedtime story – this was GREAT! yes, it is always best to tell the truth!
    thanks and good night! z

    • pixilated2 says:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Lisa! You know when you get pulled over and you are honest with the officer it makes their day too. Over the years I’ve had more than one tell me that they appreciated not being yelled at, argued with or called names, and then they’d let me go with a warning. 🙂

  6. littlesundog says:

    Lynda, I had a good belly laugh on this post! I too have been embarrassingly honest (and in tears) and I have never gotten a ticket, just a warning. What a FABULOUS story!! And wow!!! Who knew the judge would make the dealership fix your car?? What sweet victory for you! Great post Lynda! PS: I’m impressed by your choice of car. I learn something new about you all of the time! Tomboy? It just doesn’t seem possible!

  7. shoreacres says:

    Ha! You should have seen me, when my dad ended up with a royal blue, white interior 1964 Mustang. Talk about all that and a bag of chips.

    I love your story – and I love that judge that let you go. And I have to laugh – there are a lot of people out there who don’t understand that there are some girls/women who really dig a good car, too.

    I had my own need for honesty with a judge once, but not for a moving violation. I got pulled over for an expired tag, and then the nice policeman pointed out my driver’s license was expired, too. I really had been meaning to get to that…. Court was in a little waterfront village. The judge was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops, and it got pretty funny before it was all over. I got away paying court costs. 😉

    • pixilated2 says:

      Now that is too funny, Linda, because my dad had blue mustang fastback! It was a bit lighter blue than royal, and quite fast… We went out into the vineyards once, on old Baseline Road, and he scared the h-ll out of me when he gunned it and made the tires chirp changing to second gear! And yes, I still think about getting another ‘good car’ but then I think, where would I go in it? But I can dream about it, right?

      Oh hey! I would like to hear more about that judge in the flip-flops someday! 🙂

  8. TBM says:

    wow, even thought I’ve been honest, it never got me out of a ticket. I guess the answer of “I don’t know why I was speeding” wasn’t sufficient 🙂 It was honest though.

    • pixilated2 says:

      How odd! The only ticket I have gotten in a long time was for an improper turn, and I was in a grouchy mood that day. Another lesson learned. You definitely can’t be grouchy with an officer of the law, or you will certainly get a ticket!!! 😉 I’m sorry that honesty didn’t work for you.

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