No one ever wants to be pulled over by the police. Stopping at the side of the road for speeding, running a red light, or some other infraction can be scary, not to mention costly if the officer decides to give you a ticket.
For one mother in Rockwood, Michigan, however, getting pulled over by the police one day was absolutely terrifying for a whole other reason.
A Dire Situation
When Officer Nicholas Mitchell pulled over Rhonda McArthur for running a red light on a Monday morning, McArthur was petrified. Not because she would get a ticket or have to pay a hefty fine, but because her 10-year-old son, Nick, was in the backseat and he was in trouble.
That morning, Nick had a serious asthma attack while he was getting ready for school. Unable to help her son, McArthur put him in the car and sped towards the hospital. When Mitchell pulled her over, Nick was almost out of breath.
“It felt like someone was holding my throat and choking me,” Nick explained to the publication. “I thought this was going to take forever.”
Recognizing a Bad Situation
Officer Mitchell immediately realized something was wrong. “I could hear somebody in the car with very labored breathing; couldn’t breathe at all,” he explained.
So instead of asking McArthur for her registration and ID, he called for an ambulance. When one wasn’t available, he knew he had to save the child.
With help from firefighters, who gave Nick an oxygen mask, Mitchell put the boy in the backseat of his cruiser.
“Officer Mitchell just said, ‘Let’s go, get in the car,’ and he drove us all the way to the hospital, lights, and sirens, as fast as he could,” McArthur recalled.
They arrived at the hospital just in time, doctors later said, and Nick was saved. Now, Mitchell is being hailed as a hero.
“It makes me feel good, and that’s why I do this job, to help people,” he said.
Putting People First
Mitchell may not see himself as a hero, but he absolutely became the McArthur family’s hero the day he pulled them over. Not because he was doing his job but because he was able to look at the situation and realize it wasn’t black and white.
Yes, this mom broke the law by running that red light. But it was also a matter of life and death. By recognizing the situation and reacting quickly, Mitchell proved that sometimes, you have to have flexibility and forgo the rules in order to put people first.
While we hope to never be in this kind of situation with a child’s life at stake, there are smaller ways to put that into practice with others. Not docking someone’s pay for being late, for example. Or perhaps it’s not giving them grief when they have to reschedule your appointment.
The thing is, we don’t always know what someone else is going through, and they could have really great reasons for not showing up on time or having to reschedule with you. Unless you ask questions and show empathy and compassion, you’ll never know.
We all deserve a little leeway in life, so why not start by giving it to others?
More from Goalcast: