On a good note, the following story appeared in the Boston Globe newspaper on November 6th about a good deed from a police officer that got some attention. It's a great story.
‘This could be me’: A Somerville police officer reaches out after an emotional traffic stop
|Officer Catataoand her son|
A traffic stop in Somerville on Wednesday led to an unexpected result—flowers instead of a ticket.
It began when Somerville Police Officer Ashley Catatao was running radar on Alewife Brook Parkway, and pulled over a car that was going 40 mph in a 30-mph zone.
Catatao asked the driver, Robin Sutherland, if she knew why she was being pulled over.
“She said, ‘Was I going fast?’” recounted Catatao.
Sutherland told Catatao that she thought the last time she was pulled over for speeding was in 1985, and her precise recall made the officer laugh.
Catatao told the woman that as long as she had a good driver’s history, she’d just give her a warning.
|The officer's note that came with flowers to Robin|
Catatao walked back to her cruiser to fill out the written warning. When she returned, she was surprised to see Sutherland crying.
“I was like, ‘Why are you crying? It’s just a warning,’” Catatao said. “She said, ‘No, it’s not that. This morning I got a call saying I had to put my mom in hospice. And even though she’s 90 years old, you’re never ready to say goodbye to a parent.’”
Catatao said she was on the verge of crying herself, hearing Sutherland’s story. But she “kept it together.”
“I told her, ‘It’s going to be OK, you have to keep going. Just take it easy,’” Catatao said.
Sutherland was soon on her way, but Catatao found herself continuing to think about the encounter. She realized she’d like to do something nice for the stranger she’d just pulled over.
“I felt bad because it’s not like I could have sat there and talked with her,” Catatao said. “It’s not like I could have hugged her. She was on her way to work, and I was working.”
The Somerville officer found a local florist near Sutherland’s home and put in an online order that included a personal message, signed simply, “Officer who pulled you over this morning.”
She said she’s surprised at how much media attention her act of kindness has attracted.
“I thought if anything she would call to say thank you, send an email to the department, that was it,” she said. “I didn’t expect for this to happen.”
Catatao said she’s had previous experiences where she’s wanted to reach out to people she’s encountered on the job. She said there are always interactions that stick with you, but officers don’t always get the chance to follow up with people after responding to calls.
|Robin gets the officer's flowers|
“Sometimes I do want to, but I get hung up on it because I’m like, ‘Will they think it’s weird? Would it be inappropriate?’ And then just sometimes you don’t get a chance to do it,” she said.
But Sutherland’s situation struck Catatao personally—she’s very close to her mother, and she’s a mother herself.
“I have my son every single day and everything I do, I do for him,” she said. “So to realize that someday I could lose my mother who has done so much for me, and to think about my son losing me someday—god forbid it’s from the job—I’m hoping it’s someday when I’m really old and he’s prepared for it. But it just moved me to think, ‘This could be me.’ Where I have to say goodbye to my mom, or my son has to say goodbye to me.”
Catatao said she hasn’t seen the flowers herself since she placed the order online, but she spoke to Sutherland on the phone on Thursday.
“She’s a really nice woman and I wish her and her family the best,” she said. “I know they’re going through a really difficult time right now, but i just wanted to thank her for bringing such positive attention to what we do. This is something we do here all the time, you just don’t hear about it.”