I was awakened one morning a knock at the door at about 5AM. When I peeked out the peephole I saw a POLICE OFFICER standing there. I was living in a small college town at the time and I figured something had happened.
I was reluctant to open the door because I was in my ratty flannel pajamas (with clunky white sports socks on my feet). My hair was standing straight up, and I am sure I had sleep creases all over the side of my face.
When I opened the door the young officer said, “Are you Karen Taylor?”
“Yes,” I warily replied.
He returned with, “There has been a complaint filed against you and I am here to question you about it.” I did not invite him in (I'm not stupid, I watch television). I asked him, "What's this all about, officer?"
He explained that the convenience store on main street had called the police and accused me of driving out without paying for my gas. I immediately went ballistic. There was an incident the morning before but this was WAY off. I struck a insolent pose, thrust my wrists out toward him and said, “You’ve got me officer; I am a wanton criminal and am ready to go to jail!”
The YOUNG officer just dropped his head, shook it, looked at his feet, then looked up and pleaded, “Lady, please don’t do this. I’m sure we can work things out if you will just come to the gas station with me.”
Ok, I felt sorry for the kid, so I dressed and then drove to the to gas station, he followed.
Now, here is what really happened the day before:
I was out of gas and knew I had to fill up somewhere close. There was a convenience story/station behind my house (I could throw a rock from my back door to this place, and believe me after this incident, I did consider it). I was going to be late to work if I didn’t hurry. I filled up but couldn’t find my card. I apologized and offered the girl a check. She said they didn’t take checks, but I could fill out a request for a card.
“But, I said, “I already have a card.” Besides, the application they wanted me to fill out was for a different card. I had gotten gas there before and I didn't need or want a new card. I argued with her to no avail. I even had her call the owner, who said no. I then offered to allow her to pump the gas out of my car (by that time I was getting mad). Not wanting to be late, I placed (no slammed) my check on the counter (with name address and phone number on it) and left. Ergo the 5 AM wake-up call.
This was all discussed again with the employee at the store. She was seething, and rude. I was coherent, calm and polite (see told ya, I'm not stupid). The officer listened and asked to see the check and the application that was tendered to me. I still hadn’t found my charge card and I still didn’t have cash. The officer called the owner and advised him to take the check. It was over, but I was late to work by the time they all got through putzing around.
And as Paul Harvey used to say, AND NOW THE REST OF THE STORY:
That evening, I told my 6’9” basketball-playing son (who happened to know the owner) the story. My son, also, happened to play pick-up games at the “Y.” But, more importantly so did the owner of this store.
A couple of days later, as my son was helping this man up off the floor (where he had ACCIDENTALLY knocked him) my son said to this guy, “By the way, my mother’s name is Karen Taylor,” and smiled. The owner did not return for any more pick-up games.
What a GENTLEMAN, my son is, to defend my honor!