I shouldn’t be surprised at work anymore, but it still happens. Just when I think I’ve seen it all….
On Friday night I went to a call where an unlicensed driver made a left turn in front of another car and they crashed. There was nothing shocking about that because unlicensed drivers crash all the time where I work. It’s the norm rather than the exception.
I went to speak to the unlicensed driver and asked him what happened. He asked me if I spoke Spanish. I told him I didn’t. We weren’t able to communicate so I called for a Spanish speaking officer to respond to assist me.
I called for a tow truck because I was going to impound the unlicensed driver’s truck. I then went to interview the other driver. When I was done with that I stood by waiting for the tow truck and the Spanish speaking officer. That’s when the tow truck pulled up.
I pointed to the crashed truck and told the tow driver that I was impounding that vehicle. That’s when the unlicensed driver said in perfect English, “Why are you taking my truck?”
I actually stared at him for a second wondering how all of the sudden English words were coming out of his mouth. It was like a bolt of lightning struck and turned him into an English speaker. It was of Biblical proportions on Good Friday.
That’s when I said, “I thought you didn’t speak English.”
“I speak a little.”
“784, cancel the Spanish speaker. My driver started speaking English when he saw the tow truck.”
“10-4,” replied the dispatcher.
I was then able to conduct the interview with his English and the “car accident” Spanish that I know.
It was at that moment I was taken back to a saying a friend once said at work. It’s the type of saying that has stayed with me for years and I’ve tried to pass it on to other officers. Those particular words were perfect for this moment…..
“Everyone speaks tow truck.”
No matter what the situation, the sound of a tow truck can wake the heaviest of sleepers. Bring a tow truck into a neighborhood and people will pour out of their apartments.
There could be five police cars parked in a neighborhood and some people might watch. Have a tow truck drive in and doors will fly open. People can’t get out of their apartments fast enough. Even the stray dogs in the area come by to watch.
Up until last night, I had no idea a tow truck had the power to make a person speak English.
Like the saying goes……“Everyone speaks tow truck.”