Behind the wheel Tana Baumler was pressing pedal to the metal trying to get herself, her husband, and their two granddaughters — ages 4 and 7 — to Yellowstone National Park for their vacation as quickly as possible.
But the 59-year-old restaurant owner was hoofing it a bit on the heavy side, clocked on Interstate 15 in Idaho at nearly 100 mph.
Which is why state trooper Mike Nielson pulled her over.
“I was going too fast,” Baumler admitted to ABC News of last month’s traffic stop.
That Nielson gave her a $150 ticket was no surprise to Baumler — 95 mph in a 75 mph zone will generate that from time to time — but the trooper’s courteous demeanor was a real eye-opener.
“He was giving the kids stickers, and little sheriff badges — he was just really nice to them,” she told KBOI-TV in Boise. ”I thought that it was kind of nice just because then the 4-year-old wasn’t scared.”
“He could have made it a bad day,” she noted to ABC News. “But he didn’t.”
So moved was Baumler, in fact, that while she wrote a check for her ticket she also wrote a note of thanks and sent it to the Idaho State Police.
Trooper Nielson said it was all in a day’s work, noting that he tries to treat citizens how he’d like his own family to be treated.
“(I) usually just talk to the kids,” Nielson told KBOI. “Kids are always really inquisitive when the guy with the big hat walks up to their car on the side of the highway so sometimes they are a little nervous.”
Dear Idaho State Police,
Recently I was on vacation with my grandchildren and was pulled over for speeding. Officer Mike Nielson made it a good experience for my grandchildren by talking with them calmly & giving them stickers. He didn’t leave me out and I got my very own STICKER SHOCK! :) Thanks for a great attitude.
Baumler said her experience running her own business played into how important it was for her to offer positive feedback.
“That’s probably what motivated me,” she told ABC News. “When anything bad happens, it’s easy to be negative. If someone does a good job, it’s always nice to say so.”
Baumler added that the speeding ticket was “a teaching moment” for her granddaughters. “I told them that you make these choices and that he was just doing his job,” she told ABC News. “I made a bad choice, so I [had to] pay the consequences.”