Kathleen Hauk, of Barrington, Illinois, was delighted when she discovered she and her husband were going to be parents. But the news didn’t slow her down. "In winter, 1999, I became vice president of marketing for a new website, and the job was very stressful," she says. "Even though I was five months along at that point, I couldn’t slow down."
On the way home one frigid evening, Kathleen was driving on a six-lane highway, well over the speed limit, and so distracted by thoughts of work that she didn’t notice the police car behind her--until he turned on his lights. Surprised and embarrassed, Kathleen pulled left, onto the median strip.
The officer walked over to her car as traffic whizzed past. "License and registration," he said curtly. Meekly, Kathleen surrendered the papers. She had been wrong, and she knew it. If only life wasn’t so hectic.
The officer looked at the papers, then at her. "I’m not going to write you a ticket," he said. "I want to save you the embarrassment of standing in front of a judge in your condition to explain why you were speeding, and risking both your life, and the life of your baby!" Instead, he handed her a warning. He was right, Kathleen knew. That’s exactly what she had been doing. Somehow she had forgotten what was really important in life. Before she could apologize, the officer leaned in the window again. "Stay here until I tell you it’s safe to pull back into traffic," he told her, then turned and walked back to his car.
Kathleen nodded, took a few deep breaths, then looked in her rear view for his signal. But how odd! There was nothing behind her now, no traffic on this heavily traveled road, and no squad car. How could he have disappeared so quickly, without signaling her into the traffic flow as he’d said he would do? Slowly, Kathleen pulled back onto the road and drove home.
Only later did she realize that the officer couldn’t have known that she was pregnant--it was dark and she wore a heavy coat... Nor was there a name or a badge number written on the warning ticket, just a caution against unsafe driving. "Gradually I began to suspect that this police officer was my baby’s guardian angel, sent to remind me that no matter how busy I am or will be, my child must always come first," she says.
Since then, Kathleen takes time to smell the roses. For her and her family, each day is a gift.