Some years ago I attended a self-improvement seminar and the speaker was Jim Rohn. He said, “Everything matters in life, some things a little and some things a lot, we just don’t know which is which.” And I believed him.
Now if I may, I would like to relate a personal experience that occurred when I was a motorcycle officer that strengthened this belief and taught a young man that everything in life does indeed matter.
I was a motorcycle officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and I was working speed complaints out of West Traffic Division. On the 6th of January, 1986, I was working a speed complaint on one of the streets in the hills of Bel-Air. It was around 9:30 in the morning. I was stopped at the base of a hill and had set up my radar on the handlebar of my motorcycle and was watching the traffic coming down the hill.
This was a residential area and the road was narrow with numerous curves and was posted at 25 miles per hour. I had just finished writing a couple of tickets when I heard the audio on the radar, looked up the road and saw a small sports car coming down the hill. I glanced at the digital readout on the radar unit and saw that the car was traveling close to 50 miles per hour. I stepped out into the street and waved the driver over to the curb.
The driver was a young man in his early 20’s on his way to UCLA for a morning class. I told him why I had stopped him and started to write him a ticket. He, of course, didn’t want the ticket and tried to talk me out of it. His name was Christopher and he was a good kid. But he was trying his best to get me to not write him a ticket. Never rude, always polite, but determined to convince me to let him go.
We bantered back and forth, he would raise his voice in support of his position, but I calmly explained why he should get the ticket. When he saw I was still going to write him the ticket, he asked me, “What If I had not stopped, you were not on your motorcycle, would you have chased me?” I replied, “Most likely not”.
About this time, I heard the audio on the radar and noticed that the digital readout registered 52 miles per hour. I looked up and saw a young man coming down the hill on a motorcycle. I stepped out in front of him and waved him into the curb. He was going too fast and passed us, but he was slowing down. I walked towards the motorcycle rider and my back was to Christopher.
The motorcyclist had turned around and was coming back to me. Then he suddenly made a quick U-turn and sped down the hill. I turned around and walked back to Christopher and said, “Well, one got away.”
He said, “I waved him on”.
I said, “What?”
He said, “I waved him on.”
I replied, “Oh, no! You should not have done that.”
He had a puzzled look on his face and asked, “Why not, it won’t matter?”
I told him everything in life matters, some things a little and some things a lot. We just don’t know which is which. The look on Christopher’s face clearly indicated to me that he did not believe me. I finished the ticket and we talked a little more about life and philosophy, then Christopher went to class and I went to court.
Three days later, I was back working that same area and had three cars stopped. While I was writing the tickets, I noticed that a car coming up the hill had stopped across from me. There were three or four guys in the car. It was obvious to me that they were waiting to talk to me.
I finished the last ticket and the driver of the car got out and walked over to me. He had a very sad look about him. I could tell something was bothering him. As he approached me, he asked, “Do you remember me?”
“Yes,” I replied, “you are Christopher.”
He then said, “You taught me a valuable lesson the other day when you told me that everything in life matters. I didn’t believe you then, but now I do.”
“How do you mean?” I asked.
“Do you remember the boy on the motorcycle?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied, “I do remember him.”
“Well,” he said, “he was my roommate and that is why I waved him on. I thought I was helping him. After he turned around he made a wrong turn and went down a street, which ended in a cul-de-sac and hit a large planter in the center of the cul-de-sac. He died instantly. You were right when you said everything in life matters.”
I was shocked and found it hard to believe, even though I had been with LAPD for 18½ years. We talked for a few more minutes. I expressed my sorrow, we shook hands and then we both left.
I rode to the station in Venice and looked up the traffic reports for the 6th of January and sure enough there it was. I still could not believe it. I mentioned what had happened to another officer who was in the station at the time. His response was that the kid deserved to die for fleeing the scene; I thought this cannot be happening; I don’t want to be like him.
As police officers and especially motor officers we are supposed to be saving lives, not pleased because some kid made a bad decision and died. Over the next several days I gave a lot of thought to this situation and my life in general. I decided I didn’t want to be a police officer anymore and I needed a change. So I resigned in February 1986 after 18½ years with LAPD to pursue my passion, network marketing.
I thought that I should listen to my own advice about how everything matters and look at this situation as an opportunity to make some serious changes in my life. I’ve never regretted leaving LAPD even though my business plans didn’t quite work the way I had hoped back in 1986. But over the years they have and I have had a successful network marketing business since 1995.
Could now be the time for you to make a life change? If it is, I would encourage you to do so. Based on my experience you will not be sorry. I will be 67 in September, I’m in great health and could not be happier.
By Duane Spears
Meditation: For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little. – Isaiah 28:10
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!