A police officer’s job is to protect the community, and perhaps nowhere is their work more important than on the streets. Furthermore, when a police car’s red and blue lights start flashing, every motorist knows that there’s someone about to feel the long arm of the law – and they hope that it’s not them.
But it’s not every day that you see a three-year-old child being pulled over by the cops. And that happened on one Sunday in March 2017, when Nathan Snow, a toddler from Fort McMurray, Canada, was out and about enjoying some fresh air with his parents.
The family had spent the afternoon at the local playground, bringing with them their Pomeranian dog, Lacey. They were on their way back home, however, when the unexpected happened: a police car appeared, with its flashing lights showering the scene in red and blue.
The family realized that the officer was trying to pull them over for something they had done, but they couldn’t work out what it was. The policeman then rolled down his window and spoke to the parents. And what he said to them was totally baffling.
Specifically, the officer commented, “Hey, would you guys mind if I pulled him over?” The cop was referring to their three-year-old son, who was riding a battery-powered toy truck along the street. His parents agreed to the request, then stood back and watched the whole thing unfold.
Their son Nathan was sitting in his child-size Ford F-150, minding his own business. Together with the family dog Lucy, sitting in the back of the mini pickup truck, the two of them looked very cute indeed.
But then the police officer got out of his vehicle and approached the toddler, clutching a piece of paper. He subsequently walked up to little Nathan and showed him what the piece of paper said. And after leaning down to talk to the three-year-old, he explained, “This is a ticket.”
The cop then told the boy, “This is a ticket for you going too fast,” as though it were a real traffic stop. But what was written on the paper made it clear that it was no ordinary ticket. Indeed, the pink paper didn’t even specify an amount that Nathan had to pay as a fine.
Instead, it detailed the reason why the child had been pulled over: the officer had simply jotted down the words, “Too fast!” But there was no money for Nathan to hand over for his speeding; instead, the cop did came up with a very unique punishment for the little boy.
After giving young Nathan the ticket, the policeman explained what the three-year-old would have to do as a consequence for speeding in his battery-powered car. “When you get home, you need to help your mom with laundry for the ticket,” he said.
The toddler, who seemed a little confused by the situation, simply said, “Okay” and took the ticket from the officer. With the pink paper in one hand, Nathan shook the cop’s hand with the other before receiving a pat on the head.
And that’s how little Nathan’s first encounter with the law concluded. His parents told CBC News in March 2017 that their son, being only three years old, hadn’t really understood who the police officer was. Nonetheless, he enjoyed the whole experience of being pulled over.
“When the lights came on, he was kind of just looking around, a deer in the headlights. He took his paper, he was pretty excited,” his mom explained. And it seems that Nathan’s parents thought the whole thing was pretty hilarious as well.
What’s more, they filmed the encounter on a mobile phone and then uploaded it to Facebook, where it quickly garnered thousands of views. The video also boasts over 150,000 views on YouTube, where it was posted on Inside Edition’s account and named “Police Officer Pulls Over 3-Year-Old Speeding In Toy Convertible.”
Overall, the reaction online was positive, with lots of YouTube users commenting on the police officer’s sense of humor. “It’s good to see police get to have fun on the job, everyone needs some good days!” wrote somebody who enjoyed the footage of Nathan getting pulled over.
As often happens on the internet, though, there were some people who expressed rather more negative opinions. “Seems like a waste of time for the cops to [be] doing this on their job,” commented someone who didn’t seem to see the light side of the story.
With a similar degree of gravity, one person even complained that the three-year-old should have received a harsher punishment. “If I did that I would be taken to jail for no insurance and license… just because it’s a toy doesn’t mean they [Nathan] have the privilege to ride on the street,” they remarked.
Aside from the video, Nathan’s mom, Heather Snow, uploaded a photograph of the cop’s “speeding ticket” to her Facebook page. And that, too, sparked a discussion, with some praising Nathan’s parents for letting the officer pull their son over.
For example, one Facebook user named Frank Sparkes said, “He’s being taught by parents who are good role models. [That’s] worth more than most realize. Thank you for sharing and for raising a good little man.” And Snow expressed delight at reading his comment, perhaps because some other people had been more harshly critical of the post.
“I’ve needed to hear that today after seeing some nasty comments towards my parenting,” the mom replied. And that positive response was perhaps warranted: after all, in the end, no one was harmed in the incident. It also made for a cute video that likely brought a smile to thousands of people. And the whole experience might even have taught little Nathan a bit about road safety – which is never a bad thing.