When you're given a speeding ticket, chances are you are mostly just frustrated and annoyed that you got caught.
You don't really think much about how your fast driving affects anyone else, especially the cop. But one cop has written a letter and published it publicly after pulling over an 18-year-old for going 100 mph in a 65 mph zone.
The letter is not an apology for giving the young driver an expensive ticket, instead it's actually quite the opposite. The officer is instead trying to use this ticket as a warning to others who may also believe themselves to be "invincible."
The letter starts off simple, but immediately makes the gravity of the situation aware. This wasn't just a speeding ticket, this was a narrowly avoided tragedy in the making.
"To the 18 year old kid I stopped on SR 10," the officer wrote. "You’re welcome. I’d like to believe that you were minutes away from creating an unspeakable Christmas tragedy when I stopped you. If not only killing yourself, you were well on your way to killing some innocent person who was minding their own business doing nothing else wrong but being in front of you."
The letter posted on December 16th doesn't hold back when it comes to berating the teen's lie.
"You said you didn’t realize how fast you were going. That’s a lie. You may not realize when you’re doing 45 in a 35 but you are fully aware of every mile per hour at 100. You realize it with every bump you hit. You realize it as you pass cars so fast the wind moves your car. You realize it every time you drift over the line and when you move the wheel the car reacts a lot quicker than you’re used to. You absolutely realized it."
He continues on, writing that the nerves the teen experienced were not directed properly.
"You were scared when I stopped you. You were visibly shaking and breathing hard. Unfortunately, you were scared one minute too late and for the wrong reason. You should have been scared that you were trying to kill yourself. I know you’re invincible. I know that you can’t even fathom your own death."
And then the officer got real with the letter, and revealed that he's seen the results of choices like the one this teen made before.
"I can tell you dozens of stories of dead and broken 18 year old bodies that I’ve pulled from cars. Broken bodies that I’ve found in front yards after crashes. Unrecognizable bodies. They thought they were invincible too. They weren’t. They were gone so they missed the part where I had to tell their parents that they were dead. Part of your soul disappears every time you have to tell parents that their kid is dead."
The officer tried to appeal to the teen by making them think about their parents, and how their bad decisions actually affect other people too.
"I don’t KNOW your parents, but I know them. I know that when you leave every day they say 'Be careful. Drive safe.' Those aren’t just words. That is the very last act of them pleading with you to come home safe. When they get a knock on the door, it’s not 'Good afternoon ma’am. Your 18 year old son just had a massive heart attack.' It’s 'Can we sit down? Your son has been involved in a very serious crash. I’m so sorry. He’s died.' When you leave the house they know that, far and away, the best chance you have of dying that day is in that car. Sometimes you’re the innocent person hit by someone with no regard for anyone else and sometimes you’re the one with no regard for anyone else. Today you were the latter."
To end off the letter, the officer admits that they hope they are paying off the fine for months.
"You seemed like a really nice kid who made a bad decision. I don’t feel bad about this ticket at all. In fact, I’m proud of it. I hope you’re paying it off for months and with every payment you think about how it wasn’t worth it. I hope you slow down. I hope that when your mom tells you to 'drive safe' you make a promise to her, and yourself, that you will. I hope you can envision me sitting in your kitchen telling your screaming mother that you have been killed.
Slow down. Please. You are not invincible. I promise."
The Facebook post has thousands of comments and shares, with people all over the country hoping to encourage other people to think twice before speeding.
While it may seem like it's not a big deal at the time, it could be the difference between life and death.