A Brush with the Law

Columban Fr. Frank Hoare shares an excerpt from his diary:

11 August 1996

The drive from Ba, where I am stationed as assistant priest, to Suva takes well over four hours. Load-carrying trucks are one of the obstacles on the way, as I found out today.

A few miles outside of Lautoka city I passed a slow truck on an incline only to be flagged down immediately afterwards by two Indo-Fijian policemen. One of them brought his speed gun over to me as I got out of the car. “You were over the speed limit,” he said. “But I wasn’t doing more than 80 km per hour,” I replied. “The 60 km speed limit sign is just back there,” the policeman pointed. As I saw it I realized that it had been obscured from my view as I passed the truck. I tried to explain this to the policeman.

The second policeman surprised me then by asking me in Hindi where I was going.

“How did you know that I could speak Hindi?”

“I was the policeman who gave you a speeding ticket at Karavi Primary School two weeks ago,” he said. “But I also attended a Hindi wedding that you officiated at in Vatukoula ten years ago.” I was amazed that he remembered me.

“Is this man a priest?” asked the first policeman who had his ticket book at the ready by now. “Yes, he is,” said my friend. “Then we should ask him for a blessing,” said he, putting the ticket book away. I gladly gave the two Hindu policemen a blessing and continued on my way to Suva.

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