When you get pulled over for speeding, the last thing you’d expect to get from the police officer is a thank you. But that’s exactly what happened to Ayla Hemeon, of Georgetown, S.C., when she was racing with her daughter to deliver a carved Halloween pumpkin to her parents last weekend.
“It was Sunday afternoon and I had spent the morning getting the house cleaned up,” Hemeon, 42, told ABC News. “It had been a hectic weekend. My daughter and I carved a pumpkin for my parents and she had so much homework to finish up. Around 3 p.m. we got in the car to take the pumpkin to my parents house and I wanted to hurry to drop it off to get back home so she could finish up her stuff for school.”
The flustered mom said she pulled out onto the main road and noticed blue lights in her mirror.
“The police officer came to my car and told me he was stopping me for speeding and asked if there was any lawful reason for me speeding,” she recalled. “I told him the story about how I was trying to hurry to my parents so we could back home quickly.”
The cop listened, and then “he went back to his car and didn’t say a word.”
“He was very serious,” said Hemeon. “He goes back to his car and is in there for what feels like an eternity. But then he comes back and hands me what I thought was a ticket.”
The ticket, however, ended up teaching her a much more important lesson than not to speed.
“He said, ‘This is just a warning. It’s not a ticket. You don’t have to do anything with this, but there’s a message on the bottom of the ticket for you,’” Hemeon recalled.
Sergeant Steven Church then walked away, leaving her speechless.
Church’s handwritten note on the warning read, “Thanks for all that you do. You could have spent Sunday alone but, you’re spending it helping your parents and daughter. Have a good day.”
“I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, how often does that happen?,’” Hemeon said. “It really made me feel good because I really had good intentions. Here’s someone who doesn’t know me, but really does appreciate what all I’m trying to do.”
In an interview with ABC News affiliate WPDE, Church said that “You could tell [Hemeon] was having a tough week. Just because something goes wrong, doesn’t define them.”
The two strangers reunited Wednesday afternoon at the police station.
“The thing that really struck me is here he is telling me I’m setting a good example for my daughter, and yet, he is the one that’s really setting the good example,” said Hemeon. “With all of the bad things in the news about the police lately, for my daughter to see that was great. It’s important for her to see there’s still good sides to these stories, too.”
Neither of them would change a thing about their chance encounter, but Church did mention one minor detail he wished he could’ve improved.
“If I knew so many people were going to see it, I would have taken my time to write it neater,” he told WPDE.