(A true and funny story)
My friend, Mary, and I once attended a baby shower, while her two girls and my two boys were all at the church building for a youth group event. When the baby shower was over, Mary and I walked out to our cars together. It was getting late, but we both had to run by the church building, to pick up our kids, before going home. After chatting for another minute or so, at the curb, Mary hopped into her car and said, "I'll race ya'!" I giggled, and hopped into my car, as well, and said, "See you there."
Mary revved her engine, and took off. I laughed to myself, not even almost taking Mary's flippant challenge seriously. I lost sight of Mary, right away, and drove to the church parking lot in no particular hurry.
When I got there, I was surprised to see Mary's car, a police car pulled in behind it, and an officer talking intently to Mary, who was standing beside her car. All the teens were lined up at the windows of the fellowship hall, staring and pointing at Mary and the officer, and wondering, like I was, what the story was. (Although I knew, in my heart, it had something to do with the word "race.") I meekly walked into the building, up the stairs, and stood at the window with the kids.
Finally the police officer left, and Mary, crimson-faced and carrying a citation, came into the building to face a whole gaggle of kids demanding, "What'd you do?". Here's what had happened:
Mary had, indeed, and to my amazement, taken her "race ya'" challenge seriously. She went a different route than I did and, in her haste, inadvertently ran a new stop sign at an intersection near the church building. As she pulled into the parking lot, a car pulled in behind her. Assuming it was me, she jumped out of the car, faced the headlights, flung her arms wide, threw her head back, and hollered "Ta-Dah!" - an exhaltation of victory. Then, to her dismay, a police officer, not I, stepped out of the car. I've often wondered if the officer might have shown some grace and only given her a warning, considering the fact that the stop sign was newly-planted at that corner . . . had he not been "Ta-Dahed." As it was, there was no grace, no warning, just an expensive ticket for Mary.