Speeding Ticket

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I've gotten two speeding tickets in my life. I received my first one after I'd had my driver's license for less than 4 months.

A group of us high school guys were working with some men in our church sanding and refinishing the floor of our youth room. I was tasked with returning the rented sanders before noon on a Saturday.

We loaded up the big floor sanders into the back of a borrowed truck, and off I went for a one-hour trip to the distant rental company. Doing some quick calculations, I figured I could get to the company before their noon closing with about 5 minutes to spare.

As I got closer, I realized that I was going to be late. So I started speeding. Sure enough, there was a Florida Highway Patrolman hiding on a strip of highway and he stopped me.

I was scared, nervous, and I didn't want to be responsible for being late with the sanders. So I began to make excuses: We were doing work at our church. I am not used to driving this powerful truck.

My efforts were fruitless. I got my first speeding ticket.

My second ticket was awarded to me many years later when I was with my 17 year old son and a friend of his attending the Cornerstone Music Festival in Illinois. We had gotten up very early to catch a flight from Florida, rented a car at the airport and driven over two hours to the festival site, spent the day listening to bands, and at 1:30 am the next morning we left to go to our motel.

I was tired, hungry, cranky, and in need of a shower. We were in the middle of miles of corn fields, it was 20 minutes to the nearest town where our motel was, and there was no one on the roads at that hour. So I sped.

When the Illinois Highway Patrolman approached my car, I had my license, insurance card, and rental car agreement ready. The patrolman said, "Good evening sir." I responded with, "I was wrong. I was speeding. No excuse."

I got my second speeding ticket.

Here are some things I have learned:
  • Accept responsibility. Our society encourages us to redirect blame and deflect fault. When we do what is wrong, we have done what is wrong. It's on us. I was wrong. I was speeding. No excuse.
  • Focus on the action. We tend to identify and draw attention to the result of what we've done, not the action itself. Most people will say: I got a ticket. Few will say I was speeding.
  • Receive the consequences. Consequences are the natural result of our actions. It's not about getting caught, it's about what we did in the first place. My choices bring repercussions.
  • Seek forgiveness. There is something to be said about asking for forgiveness. It accepts responsibility, it shows repentance, and it frees the one who delivers the consequence. (Not to be used to avoid consequences.) I was wrong. Please forgive me.
  • Learn from mistakes. If we don't learn from our actions and the consequences they bring, we will continue to make those same mistakes. Our goal should be to always move forward with our lives. What can I do in my life to be a better, more effective influence?
Have a nice day.

Question: What are your experiences with speeding tickets? Share your thoughts below in comments.
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