Time: 7:00PM – I was traveling south on Santa Fe and noticed a van stalled in a middle lane (heading south). I noticed two women opening the hood and staring dumbfounded at the quiet engine.
I pulled in front of them to help. Traffic behind the van was backing up as car began merging temporarily into one lane. I introduced myself and took a look under the hood. Everything was dead – flat dead. No ignition, no lights, nothing! And the woman said it just died all at once.
She teared up and explained to me that she was with her daughter and her grandchild. She said they were here, from Pueblo, because her daughter was having major surgery. I could see they were all distressed. It was hot, traffic was mounting and they had no idea what to do. I told her I wanted to help out.
I stepped away to call Al Oramas, owner of Pro Auto Care. My plan was to pay to have her van towed south on Santa Fe to Pro Auto Care. I told Al I would pay for the repairs. He said he would also help out. But before I could even tell her about my plan …
Time: 7:15PM -Englewood Police showed up TO SAVE THE DAY!
Englewood police officer Kunst immediately approached me and asked: “Who are you and why are you here?”
“I just stopped to help. I’m making arrangements to have her car towed to a repair shop to get it fixed.” I said.
“I need you to leave. Now! You are impeding traffic!” Officer Kunst said sternly.
I started walking toward my car, then realized it was right in front of the stalled van. Cars were going around the van anyway and merging in front of us. There was no way my car was blocking traffic. But I didn’t argue that point.
“Officer,” I responded, “I just want to help. They are here from Pueblo, her daughter is having surgery. I’d like to take care of all of this. I can arrange for a tow and get it to a shop immediately. Can I just talk to her about it?”
“No sir!” He said a bit more sternly than the first time, “Get in you car now and leave.”
“Are you having her car towed?” I asked. I would like to pay for it.
“I am going to push it off to the side to get it out of traffic,” Officer Kunst responded.
“Do you need help pushing?” I asked?
“No sir, we don’t. This is police business.” He said.
“Can you simply tell her I will pay for the tow?”
“No. Just leave!” Office Kunst said.
I left. And I had to keep moving once I merged into traffic. So I have no idea what happened to that poor family.
The entire exchange took less than 3-minutes. And fortunately, Al Oramas heard the whole thing because I had never hung up the cell phone.
Did Officer Kunst call for a tow truck? If so, who paid for it? Usually when police call for a tow truck, the car is taken to an impound yard or storage lot. And you can expect to pay from $350 to $500 – minimum. Then you have to worry about getting it towed to a repair shop – which will cost another $150 to $200.
Yet, there I was, volunteering to pay for everything. It’s called being a good Samaritan. And Office Kunst could not see past his “official police business”. Keep in mind, this was NOT an accident. It was NOT an emergency. It was NOT a crime. There was simply no need to be a prick.
I’m not looking for kudos but I simply want to highlight what has become accepted behavior: Police believe they must be pricks to get their job done. Sometimes they are pricks just for the sake of being pricks. When the situation does not call for it.
There are times that just being “human” can go a long way. Officer Kunst could’ve easily relayed my message to the woman. He could’ve taken a terrible situation for out-of-town visitors and mediated a happy outcome.
But here is the problem, some police believe everyone is out to get them, everyone wants to make their lives difficult and sadly a few believe there is a criminal lurking in all of us.
How sad to see the world this way. It is creating an “US AGAINST THEM” mentality. Is this the culture at Englewood Police Department? Or just an isolated prick?
What do you think?