We were on our way to dance class when all of sudden I saw flashing lights in the rear view mirror. It was a cop pulling us over.
"Oh my God," I said.
"What happen?" my daughter asked.
"The cops are stopping us," I responded.
"What does that mean?" she asked.
For a moment I thought about NOT stopping. It was an unmarked car and thought maybe it's someone goofing off and flashing their lights. But I'd rather be safe than sorry. So, I pull over at the side of the road and a police officer approached the passenger side of my car.
"Why are they stopping us?" My daughter asked. My hands were shaking and my heart was beating fast. I felt like I was gonna pee my pants. I said a prayer and told myself, "Be calm. Stay cool."
I can't help feeling a sense of uneasiness. The racial unrest between law enforcement and the black community continues to dominate our news feeds, with "Black Lives Matter" being the trending topic on social media sites.
I take into account that we're in a white neighborhood, and the last thing I need is for something bad to happen with my daughter present.
I think about Philando Castile being shot to death while his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter Dae'Anna sat in the back seat. The recent events involving people of color being brutally murdered by cops doesn't exactly make me feel safe.
The voice inside my head told me not to make any sudden movements. "Keep my hands on the steering wheel and do exactly as I'm told."
The cop stood by the passenger side window with one hand on his waist. Our eyes met and he signaled for me to roll the window down. I was so nervous. I was afraid that any sudden movement would set him off.
"Why do we have to stop?" my daughter asked.
"I don't know. We're gonna find out," I responded.
"I need your license and registration," the cop said.
"Is it okay to get it from my bag?" I asked.
"Yes," he replied.
My bag was on the passenger seat. I slowly placed my hand inside and pulled out my purse. I found my license and reached over and handed it to him. But my nerves got in the way, so I don't bother going into the glove compartment for the registration. I figured that I'd wait for him to ask me for it again, but he didn't.
I asked him what I did wrong and he proceeded to tell me that I had my phone in my hand while driving. Even though I wasn't on the phone or texting at the time, he said that the "phone should never be in your hand while driving at all."
At that moment my daughter hijacked conversation. "But sometimes I see you texting," she blurted out.
It didn't take long for them to develop a bond. "How old are you?" he asked.
It turned out he has a daughter the same age. Our little girls' birthdays are a few days apart. "I'll tell you what. If you give me a high five, I'll let your mom go with a warning," she told my daughter.
She give him a high five and he let us go. I look back at my daughter and she flashed me a huge smile.
Even though I remained calm, I couldn't help feeling shaken up. The police officer was so nice. He did a great job explaining the cell phone laws, and he even made a connection with my daughter that warmed my heart.
I know there is a lot of anger and hurt in this world right now. I can only hope and pray that we reach a better tomorrow. In order to do that, it starts with all of us.
As we continued our trip to dance class, I had a conversation with my daughter about how important it is to stay calm in situations involving cops. We may not see eye to eye on everything. But I'm sure we can all agree that we want to get home safe.
To the cop who pulled us over with my daughter in the back seat, thanks for doing a good job. Thanks for not giving me a ticket.
And to my daughter, thanks for being cute. Your mouth sometimes gets you in trouble at home. But this time your nonstop talking helped me avoid getting a ticket, even though you threw me under the bus.