Wednesday, January 11, 2012

“Officer, I didn’t do anything...really.”

I attend a church in Robertson County Tennessee. It’s a great church and we really love it, and love to be involved in ministry there. We are growing, and that brings me to todays blog. We only have one entrance and exit to our church campus and it can be a real challenge to leave church after the Sunday morning service. It’s slow going as you try to get on the highway that runs through the center of our city. We have asked our local police and county sheriff’s offices to help us by directing traffic from our little street out onto the highway. They do a great job for us, when they can help us, and we really appreciate the better traffic flow.
One Sunday morning, as we left the church, we moved up the hill towards the intersection ready to turn left, and then it happened. The officer, in uniform, pointed at me, just like your dad did when you were messing around in church. I knew I was in trouble, and yet, I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. I couldn't be speeding and I stopped at the stop sign. I was watching his direction and didn’t advance too soon. I was being good.
I got worried, because, not only did he point firmly at me, but he pointed me over to the side of the road. Pulling me over without even a siren or lights (on another side of this, it’s pretty cool to have that kind of power in one single pointer finger). I pulled over (by the way, my wife and four children were with me, and they all thought I was in big trouble too) and waited on the side of the road, for what seemed like an eternity until he came over.
When he got to the side of our minivan (obviously you think I’m incredibly cool now, just as soon as you heard “minivan”), I opened the passenger side door (our window was broken at the time). As he took off his hat, I had every excuse ready - my kids were talking, I was in a hurry to turn the stove off, my father-in-law was dying and I had to get there quick, etc.  He looked at me and said “Mr. Stumpf, you may not remember me, but I’m ________ and your wife taught me second grade.” We hadn’t seen him in a very long time and hugged his neck with a sigh of relief and chit-chatted for a moment to catch up. 
He continued “I tried to pull you over last week (now I felt like an idiot and like I got away with a crime, at the same time), but you didn’t see me. I just wanted to thank you for your influence on my life. One day I got in trouble and was sent to your office (I was the principal at that time) and you gave me some words of advice and disciplined me for lying. I learned a lot that day and I just wanted to be sure that you knew it and thank you.” We hugged again and said our good-byes.
We were all in shock, that I wasn’t in any kind of trouble, and then we quickly looked around to see how many of our friends from church were pointing and laughing. 
Lessons Learned: We influence lives around us and you never know who you are influencing for the future. We have to keep influencing. Sometimes we get thanked for influencing, and those are definitely days to remember, because we did the right thing with someone.
Thoughts: Who have you influenced today? Have you ever been pulled over just to be thanked (how weird was that?)?

BTW - I drive a Charger, so I had to find some cool police Charger pics...


  1. Great post. Thanks for the reminder of our influence. I think we are always influencing others. The question is, is it positive or negative?

  2. Kevin - you nailed it - we have to keep focused on what we do each day, so we influence people for right. Thanks for reading...and for the kind words.


Comments always welcome...