Officer Sue

Late shift at the airport can be far more interesting than you might think..

7th July, 2019

Thank you for your feedback and comments – you seem to like stories of my encounters with people. This chance encounter occurred late one night in 2014 …

Summertime, 2014. It is the end of my first year back at university. I was working during the semester break in a car rental company on the outskirts of Auckland International Airport.

Late one evening, at the end of my shift I was parking the shuttle bus in its hanger. When I turned to look out the door, there was an official-looking lady there in a hi-viz coat.

“Hello, I’m Officer Sue. Did you just drive this shuttle back from the Domestic Terminal?”

“Yes, it was my last run of the night. Can I help you?”

“Do you realise you were driving too fast through the passenger set-down area? It is a speed-restricted area and the signs are pretty clear to see.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t notice that I was going too fast. I apologise for that – I’ll be more careful next time.”

“Yes, well you can’t be too careful on-airport. There are lots and lots of …er…passengers and stuff.”

“Yes, I agree. Thank you so much for coming over to see me.”

Officer Sue looked to the side and then down at her boots, somehow awkward.

“Er, thanks.” she said, looking at me. “I really hate telling people off. Don’t get me wrong; people shouldn’t speed. I love my job but I don’t like the telling-off bits. Are you OK with me reprimanding you?”

“Absolutely. That’s fine. You are right to call me out on my driving. I was clearly in the wrong and I really appreciate you coming over to tell me.”

“Really? Thank you..” she smiled awkwardly. “I’m not good at the ticking-off bits, really.”

“I think you did it really well – very politely. Thank you.”

“OK then, I’ll just toddle off then..”she said as she turned and walked back to her car in the darkness.

Over the next few weeks, I saw her many times as I drove to and from the terminal. She always smiled and waved as I passed. Clearly, she loved her job but I always had this nagging thought each time I saw her: she would make a lousy policewoman. I can imagine her late at night apprehending a burglar, asking “Are you OK with me arresting you?” and then letting them go if they objected….


Author: Rockweather

I am a writer, musician, teacher, and researcher at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in Auckland, New Zealand.

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