HAYDEN, Idaho – When a Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy pulled over a speeding driver a few weeks ago, he had every right to give her a ticket.
Deputy Matthew Brakeman said the woman was going about 10 miles over the speed limit. “Driver was not happy to be stopped,” Brakeman said. “So I spoke to her for a moment.”
He could tell something was different as they started talking. The driver’s mother was in the passenger seat.
“I asked where they were headed, and she said to the oncologist,” Brakeman said. “She then started to become a little bit emotional.”
He learned the driver’s mother had been battling cancer. They were making another painful visit to the doctor’s office.
Brakeman went back to his patrol car to collect his thoughts. He knew he needed something more powerful than a ticket here.
“Walked back up to the passenger side and asked her mother if she would accept a prayer,” Brakeman said. “And she said, ‘Absolutely.’ So then we prayed and told them to have a good day and went back to my car.”
Brakeman said he has not had any contact with the woman since the incident, but his kindness did not go unnoticed. The driver took to the department’s Facebook page, writing in part, “Needless to say I emotionally lost it but thankful for him pulling me over at that moment and offering his kindness to us. I don’t know the officer’s (name) that stopped me but I want to thank him for his blessings and for hope.”
Brakeman did not do this for a thank you. His reason runs much deeper. “I lost my mom to cancer, and I know the feeling,” he said. “There’s a letter of the law, and there’s the spirit of the law,” he added. “These particular folks, I don’t think they were violating the spirit of the law, they were violating the letter. I think they needed some love. We all do.”