I rushed out the door this morning and headed to my 2nd day of jury duty. Remembering my gas light had gone on on my way home the previous evening, I quickly pulled over to get gas before getting on the highway. After I filled up, I tried unsuccessfully to start my car.
What is going on? Is it too cold? I wondered. I pushed my foot on the break again and attempted to restart my car. The inside lights flashed for a moment but faded fast. I tried once more, but there was still no start.
I didn’t know why this was happening, but I knew I didn’t have much time to figure it out. As I looked at the clock, panic started to set in when I realized I had less than a half an hour to figure out how to get to jury duty and do something with my now useless car. After a couple more failed attempts and finding someone who looked manly to reassure me I wasn’t crazy and that my car was not in fact working, I determined it was time to cut my losses and figure out plan B for getting to jury duty.
I called my dad who responded, “I’ll be right there. Where are you?”
While I waited for him, I called the road side assistance people and tried to convince the gas station attendant why I’d have to leave my car. Neither the gas station attendant nor the road side assistance person were thrilled when I was explaining why I couldn’t wait and my car would have to stay put until the tow truck could get there.
I threw the keys under my mat and jumped into my dad’s van. The whole ride to the courthouse, I cringed as I watched the clock inch closer to 9:15 and imagined them yelling my juror number wondering where I was.
I’m a pretty big rule follower, and I know jury duty is not something you mess around with. I didn’t imagine that car trouble real or fake would be an excuse. And, I didn’t even know how to get a hold of the court- so I did what I had to do. Thankfully my dad was able to help with this.
I got to thinking about duty today and what it means. Last night as I reflected on the trial, I had to remind myself that it was just that- my duty to the law and to a fellow citizen. I was frustrated at the other potential jurors who had all but openly admitted their prejudices in an effort to get excused. I couldn’t help but imagine the defendant being myself or a family member someday. As I looked around, I wondered who I’d want to sit in the jury box for me. Who would give me a fair trial? Would they give up their valuable time to sit and listen to my case?
After I got dismissed from the case, I picked up the phone and dialed my dad. I felt like a 15 year-old waiting for my ride. He dutifully answered, stopped his plans, and picked me up again.
I know my car trouble was an inconvenience to him too. I apologized, and he responded, “This is what dad’s do. It’s my job. It’s okay.”
We all have duties, obligations, and people we will do anything for at a moments notice. My dad works and has things he could and would much rather be doing. He didn’t ask why I needed help. He just showed up. He didn’t try to get out of it, or tell me he couldn’t help.
My dad takes his duty as a dad seriously, and for that I’m grateful. He demonstrated the kind of selflessness we could all learn from and apply to helping others and not just our loved ones.
I’m sad I won’t be able to see how the case turns out, but I pray the defendant and all defendants have jurors who take their duty seriously like my dad did.