Character Clues

You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle bad situations. 

I’m not talking about devastating. life changing incidents like losing a loved one, getting laid off, or having your home foreclosed on, but occurrences that have an immediate and relatively short term effect.  Things like getting a speeding ticket,  losing your wallet,  or having your car broken into.  Those three things are all unpleasant, but you get over them.

I’ve seen a variety of responses from people in these exact situations: 

  • One recipient I issued a speeding ticket to threw a temper tantrum in the drivers seat and promised me he would have my job.  Another recipient just shrugged, thanked me, and said he had learned a hard lesson on not speeding on Knight St.
  • One lady who lost her wallet ranted, screamed and wailed for a good ten minutes before calming down enough to cancel her credit cards.  Another lady just took it all in stride and focused on the task at hand, having all her credit cards cancelled in a very short time.
  • A fellow who had his car broken into was stalking around the street with a baseball bat when I drove up with PSD Hondo.  He was looking for the suspect, and said he would love to teach the suspect ‘a thing or two’.  A different theft from auto victim, though upset about the broken glass, was matter of fact and didn’t make a unpleasant situation worse by acting up.

Of the above examples, the speeder didn’t get my job, the lady with the missing wallet eventually replaced everything, and the baseball bat weilding theft-from-auto victim took the suggestion that he should put the bat down and stop making threats before he found himself headed to jail.

I brought this topic because yesterday I arrested a woman on an outstanding warrant.  She was woman addicted to a variety of drugs, her health did not appear to be very good, and she appeared to be coming down from whatever ‘high’ she had been on.  So when she found out she was going to jail she got very upset.  She cried and begged me to let her go, and I thought the situation was going to turn nasty when she started to get herself worked up.  But there was a difference in this case – she wasn’t mad at me for taking her to jail, and she wasn’t even too upset about the actual criminal charge she was facing.

She was scared of being ‘drug-sick’ while in custody.  I used to work in a prison before my days with the VPD and have seen firsthand how sick people get when going through drug withdrawl, so I could see why she was scared.  While we were waiting for the police wagon to arrive, the woman calmed considerably and resigned herself to the fact she was going away, at least for a few days. 

Then, to my amazement, she apologised for acting the way she had, saying she knew I was just doing my job.  She was even able to hold her head up a little.

She was a pretty cool lady, and I would have liked to have seen what type of person she would have been if drugs hadn’t found her.

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2 Responses to "Character Clues"

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