Earlier this year I got a traffic ticket for an illegal left turn, and to my surprise it was one hundred sixty four dollars. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t had a traffic ticket in 15 years or so and it was definitely sticker shock, or should I say ticket shock.
I decided to fight the ticket because I felt that the sign warning the driver not to turn left was out of the field of vision. Of course that also gives you an additional 90 days to pay for the ticket if you are found guilty. In my experience the officer who writes the ticket may not show up, in which case the ticket is dropped since the state is not there to prove their case.
Needless to say, the judge thanked me for bringing in the picture of the sign which proved the state’s case. Once that was settled I asked the judge to assign me to community service in lieu of dollars. He agreed and gave me 22 hours of community service.
It took a few phone calls, but I finally landed a volunteer position with Meals on Wheels. The work was tedious at best, but the staff was fun and very appreciative of hard workers like me. I wondered some mornings, why in hell didn’t I just pay for the ticket? Then I remembered that I would rather give to my community than to the government. It only took me about four mornings to accumulate the hours required to get out of the traffic ticket.
A few months ago my sister called me to ask about my community service. A co-worker of hers had gotten into some legal trouble and needed to serve community service. I gave her the information, but she was not able to resolve it. I personally called the North Carolina Meals on Wheels to get the information for her.
My sister’s co-worker went and had the same experience that I did. I found a great team that believed in having fun at work. The co-worker had a brother that was unemployed long term. She encouraged her brother to join her as a volunteer at Meals on Wheels just to pass the time and have a little fun. He did.
It turned out that he kept going back. He was offered a job to drive one of the vans for them with a starting pay of $12.50 an hour. Then Meals on Wheels sent him for six days training for CDL licensing. Now he drives for Meals on Wheels for $25 an hour.
I never wonder why things happen. I know that there is meaning. I had no business trying to get out of traffic ticket. I could have paid for it, but I was resistant as to how I would pay. The result of my decision had an effect 600 miles away. A needy family found their way out of a financial struggle as a direct result of my spending 4 days doing something I would not have otherwise done.
So it is easy to say that no one knows why.
What I do know is that we are all connected. I wanted to help my community and it spread all the way to North Carolina. That is just one of the effects that I am aware of. There are so many effects that I don’t know about, but never the less, happen.