CHP officer with class
It’s Thursday February 18th at 12:40 PM; the black and white SUV with lights flashing was doing the weave behind me on the 10 freeway holding back all traffic behind him. [10 eastbound about 300 yards west of the Western/Normandie exit]
When he got within 50 yards of me parked in the #1 lane I heard this coming out of his speakers; “Move your car to the right shoulder”. That’s when I first realized this 6 lane stoppage of all eastbound traffic was for me. I jumped out of my car and yelled to the officer (now within shouting distance) “I had a blowout and I don’t want to ruin the rim on my left front”. He repeated, off the speaker, “move your car to the right shoulder.”
I moved. He parked behind me and let the traffic through . He came up to my passenger window and asked if I was all right. I said yes and that I was concerned about my rim. (they’re expensive!)
In a very natural and diplomatic way he proceeded to get me to understand that my safety was more important than my rim. (obvious in hindsight) Staying in the far left lane, blocking half of it, was obviously not safe. (yes, it felt uncomfortable watching cars avoiding me with my hazard lights flashing but I didn’t see how I could be anywhere except where I was; and there was the rim!) He checked if I had called for help, I said yes, 30 minutes was the time estimate.
Then I got really amazed. Amazed because he wasn’t through.
The officer (I’m really sorry I didn’t get his name) proceeded to ask me where the pothole was that caused the blowout. Really??
It seems his job is to patrol a section of the 10 freeway. He explained that there had been 3 more blowout situations recently on this stretch and he wanted to tell CalTrans where to do patching. Again Really?? Evidently the rains from the previous day had loosened some patches and now there were some gaping potholes. I estimated that it was less than a mile back that I encountered two potholes very close to each other, one of which I was able to avoid, the other I hit directly.
He then told me to buckle my seatbelt while I waited just in case I got hit from behind (right again!). And, then (yes he still wasn’t through) he informed me there was a Metro emergency vehicle busy with some other flats back a ways - and he had already notified the driver. Wow! The Metro vehicle did in fact get to me in the next 10 minutes and quickly changed my tire. I called roadside assistance and cancelled the vehicle en route.
In the 40+ years I’ve lived in the LA metro area, I’d never been disabled on a freeway (and I drive a LOT). Reflecting on the incident I’m left with the comforting feeling that the CHP and their personnel have their priorities straight. This has to come from a department that has incredibly good management and training programs because my “rescue” and the efficiency, demeanor and concern from the officer couldn’t be a fluke.
I just went to their website and found this Mission Statement in plain view on the homepage:
“ The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.”
THANK YOU officer, whoever you are, and KUDOS to the CHP